Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bittersweet Chocolate and Walnut Fudge


Bittersweet fugde, originally uploaded by Kim De.

Ode to Fudge:

Oh Fudge, you dark chocolate treat. So smooth and creamy, you tend to melt in my mouth.

Oh Fudge, your mix of sweet and bitter meld together in culinary perfection!

Oh Fudge, WHY IS YOUR PERFECTION SO ELUSIVE???

I did not inherit my love of cooking from my mother. Or from her mother. I dont recall a single member of my family who felt the same passion I do for the preparation of food. So what did I inherit from them? The IN-ability to make "true fudge". My mom's fudge would turn out thin and incredibly soft. She would freeze it and we would eat it that way. Kind of fun when you are a kid! I remember this type of fudge from many a childhood Christmas!

Not trying to insult the recipe below. It IS fudge. Trust me. I tasted MANY pieces. But to a true candy maker, this is a "shortcut" recipe since it uses a helper ingredient, evaporated skim milk. But you know what? The "real" fudge recipe I made turned out just like mom's used to. But the fudge below? PERFECTION!

I did little to change the recipe - I left out the nuts. I was making enough to take home to Indiana, and my family has not developed my love for all things nut - so no walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts etc.

So if honor of you, my dear reader, I have posted the recipe as written.

May your New Year be filled with those who eat nuts!

Bittersweet Chocolate Fudge ( Bon App├ętit | March 2005)

1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

3 cups sugar
1 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, toasted (or substitute pecans etc)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving overhang. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl.

Stir sugar and evaporated milk in heavy large deep saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Boil until temperature registers 234°F, stirring constantly and adjusting heat to avoid boiling over, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour milk mixture over chocolate mixture. Whisk until chocolate and butter melt and fudge is smooth. Mix in nuts and vanilla.

Spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Refrigerate uncovered until cold and set, about 3 hours. Using foil as aid, lift fudge from pan. Cut crosswise into 7 strips, then lengthwise into 5 strips. Return to pan, cover, and chill. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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