Fudge Shoppe...

So one day when I was being crazy...I decided that in between batches of cookies, I should use my time wisely by making a few batches of fudge for a fun post on how you can become your own little fudge shoppe! Now I sit here three weeks (really? wow!) later realizing that I am just now getting around to having time to post about it, and guess what, I am writing this post in between baking a few batches of sugar cookies because I just cannot stop! I have to finish my last idea that I had a month ago when all of this baking madness began and I must finish it before the New Year is upon us!
So here you go, a post all about fudge...a lost art in my opinion and highly undervalued in the baking world! It is technically considered a candy since it is not in fact baked, but despite the technicalities, it is my favorite baked-good to eat at Christmas time. I simply love it! Since Christmas comes once a year, I take full advantage of eating it as much as possible in the month before Christmas! However, there was one other time that I ate fudge this year and that time was strangely on our honeymoon! Now you are wondering where the heck did we go on our honeymoon that we were eating fudge...Disneyland? The shore? Nope guess again...Hawaii! Who knew Hawaiians make fudge, and good fudge to boot! Where did we find this delectable treat you ask...in a snow-cone cafe that is! They had dozens of different flavors, that were all simply amazing, Barry and I had our fair share of taste testing and bought some to share along our journey to see one of the many gorgeous valleys that the Big Island has to see!
Now back on track to the matter at hand...If you are like me and love fudge but don't love the average $16-20 per pound to obtain the goodness, why not make your own? I am here to say that if you have just a teenie amount of baking experience, a candy thermometer and an hour to spare, you can make some yummy fudge to share with all of your family and friends...and you can make it just in time for Christmas Day so let's get started!

Here is the recipe...
adapted from a recipe I ripped out of a very old Martha Stewart magazine years ago...
Makes 36 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk ***you can use milk, half and half or cream. More milk fat = creamier & better!
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Mix-In: here is where you get to be creative...we will call this ingredient our "mix-in" for the directions portion. 
  • Butter a 6-by-6 inch pan. Sift cocoa powder and sugar into a medium bowl.
  • Prepare an ice bath. In a small saucepan, combine milk and cocoa-powder mixture with a wooden spoon until a sandy, pastelike texture forms. Add chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has completely dissolved, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Using a pastry brush, wash down sides of pan with cold water. Increase heat to medium. When a candy thermometer registers 236 degrees remove the pan from heat, and place in ice bath for 5 seconds. Transfer pan to a heat-proof surface, and let sit until thermometer registers 121 degrees, about 45 minutes.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir fudge briskly until it begins to lose its sheen, 2 to 3 minutes-set a timer. Add mix-in and stir to incorporate. Spread fudge into prepared pan with wooden spoon. Using your fingers, smooth fudge. Cover with plastic; chill 30 minutes. Cut into 1-inch squares.
Now the bolded areas are mucho importante! I speak from experience. If you fail to allow adequate time for the sugar to incorporate into the mixture initially, it will turn out grainy and believe me no one likes grainy fudge. If you skimp on the stir time, you too will be sorry, it will turn out hard as a rock and crumble when you cut it. So my advice...set a timer for both of these steps, you will be a much happier eater!
You now ask, how do I turn this recipe into a fudge shoppe? And I answer you...get creative! Figure out the taste you want to achieve and go for it! Here is what I did...
  • Plain = no mix-ins
  • Pecan = 1 cup of toasted pecans
  • Rocky Road = 1/2 cup of large marshmallows cut into small cubes + 1/2 cup of almonds
  • Mexican Chocolate = a pinch of cayenne pepper + 1/2 t. cinnamon *for this mix-in, add it in the beginning when you combine the sugar and cocoa together.
and now for some other ideas that I just didn't get to...
  • Peanut Butter = 1/2 cup Jif peanut butter +/- chopped peanuts (if you like a little extra)
  • Kahlua = 1 T. Kahlua added at the beginning when milk is added
  • Espresso = 1 T. espresso *for this mix-in, add it in the beginning when you combine the sugar and cocoa together.
  • Crispie(not a word) = 1 cup Rice Crispies (vanilla or chocolate) 
  • Peppermint = 1/4 t. peppermint extract *add at the end, just make sure you incorporate well!
  • Peppermint mocha = 1/4 t. peppermint extract + 1 T. espresso *for this mix-in, add it in the beginning when you combine the sugar and cocoa together.
  • Hazelnut = 1/2 c. Nutella spread + 1/4 c. chopped hazelnuts
  • Vanilla = 1 T. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean *added at the end
So you get the point, be creative, start your own little fudge shoppe for those you hold near and dear at the holidays, it is fun and is such a great home-made gift! Merry Christmas Eve! Happy Baking...Happier Eating!

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