I’ve finished my month of posting cake recipes and now I move onto a full month, as we approach February (2015 has moved very fast already), of truly sweet treats as I explore the world of confectionery.
I was incredibly daunted at the thought of making confectionery. I imagined myself turning into Willy Wonka and having a sugar factory at home, churning a whole manner of marshmallows, lollipops and other candies out by the truckload and being pretty sick of sugar at the end. I was very much wrong.
Confectionery is something truly special. There’s something pretty magical about bubbling a pot of sugar away and transforming it into a whole manner of different sweets and goodies. And today I’m tackling fudge.
Fudge has been something that I never thought could make at home. I always saw it being hours of constant stirring but I couldn’t be more wrong. It makes the kitchen smell wonderfully buttery and luxurious (as the milk sugars caramelise) and only requires a bit of attention before a vigorous minute of beating. There are many types of fudge out there but I’m keeping it simple with a Basic Vanilla Fudge.
450g granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Line a 1lb loaf tin with baking parchment. Make sure that the baking parchment is firm and upright.
Place all the ingredients into the saucepan. On a medium heat, whilst stirring, dissolve the sugar and melt the butter. When the mixture no longer feels gritty, turn up the heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Put a sugar thermometer into the pan, making sure it is not measuring the temperature of the pan but the fudge itself. When the fudge has reached 116°C (or the soft ball stage as it is known), dip the pan into cold water – make sure you stand back and nothing goes into the pan.
If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, here’s Kate (from In The Kitchen With Kate) showing you her fudge recipe and how to test for the soft ball stage.
Allow the fudge to cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
Taking a wooden spoon, beat the fudge vigorously until it thickens into a lump of sugary goodness. This, depending on how good your beating skills are, shouldn’t take too long. It will turn matt in colour and be warm to the touch.
Place the fudge into the prepared loaf tin, and using a palette knife, flatten the top so it is level. Then fold over the baking parchment and press the surface down firmly – this will prevent it from crumbling when it comes to cutting it when it’s set. Allow to cool down and set fully.
Lift out the fudge and cut into as big – or as small – pieces as you want. I think cubes of fudge always look best and they aren’t overwhelmingly sweet on the palate.