36 or more pieces
Everyone loves fudge, but there have been so many warnings about
what can go wrong that even experienced cooks regard this candy
with a mixture of fear and reverence. True, there are certain procedures
that you should and shouldn't follow when making fudge, but that's
the case with programming computers or dress-making or anything
else, so there's no reason not to give it a try. This is a true
cream-and-butter fudge, with more chocolate in it than is usual.
The nuts can be omitted, if you wish. I store this in the refrigerator,
but please let it come to room temperature before serving, as the
fudge will have much better flavor if you do so. It also freezes
need a candy thermometer, a pastry brush, a heat-resistant rubber
spatula, and a heavy-bottomed 3 quart pot. If you are impatient
about waiting for the fudge to cool, the way I am, you'll also need
ice cubes and a pan that is longer, wider, and shallower than your
3 quart pot (I use a 15 by 11 by 2 inch baking pan). Do not make
this on a humid or rainy day. Fudge is a joyfully-received holiday
cups granulated sugar
cups heavy cream
cup light corn syrup
ounces unsweetened chocolate, very finely chopped
Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
cup chopped, toasted, cooled pecans OR walnuts
your candy thermometer is a clip-on type, adjust it so that the
bulb rests just above the bottom of a heavy-botttomed 3 quart pot.
Remove the thermometer from the 3 quart pot, and place it in a 2
quart pot filled about 3/4 full of cold water. Place the 2 quart
pot over low heat on the back of the stove and let thermometer warm
up gradually. If the water in the 2 quart pot begins to boil, shut
off the heat, but leave the thermometer in the pot until you need
it. Using unsalted butter in addition to that called for in the
recipe, butter the sides of the 3 quart pot; set the buttered pot
aside. Have ready a cup of very hot water.
food processor fitted with steel blade, process sugar at highest
speed in 3 "bursts" of about 15 to 20 seconds each until
sugar is very fine-textured. (This step is optional, but it makes
dissolving the sugar a much easier job.) Pour processed sugar into
3 quart pot. Add cream, corn syrup, and salt. Set over low heat.
Stir almost constantly with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved;
mixture should not come to a boil during this process, which may
take 8 to 10 minutes or more. Once or twice during this process,
dip a pastry brush into the cup of very hot water, squeeze the brush
almost dry, then wash down the sides of the 3 quart pot, starting
from the top and working down to the surface of the sugar mixture.
You'll have to dip the brush into the hot water several times to
wash down the sides of the pot, but you want to get as little water
as possible into the sugar mixture while doing so.
the sugar is completely dissolved, increase the heat under the mixture
to medium. Add the chocolate and stir often until it is melted and
incorporated. Again, wash down the sides of the 3 quart pot as instructed
above. Stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Remove the
thermometer from the pot of hot water, shake it off briefly, then
place in boiling mixture, again making certain that the bulb rests
just above the bottom of the pot.
the boiling mixture especially carefully for the first few minutes,
adjusting the heat to maintain a rolling boil. I stir the boiling
mixture every 2 to 3 minutes, alternately using my candy thermometer
and a heat-resistant rubber spatula; when using the spatula, I scrape
the lower sides of the pot as well as the bottom. The idea is to
stir the fudge just often enough so that none of it sticks to the
pot and burns. Boil the fudge until it reaches a temperature of
235 degrees F on the thermometer. Toward the end of the cooking
period, wet a paper towel with hot water, then squeeze it almost
dry. VERY CAREFULLY wipe down the tube of the thermometer until
you can see the mark for 110 degrees --the thermometer and fudge
will both be hot, but you'll need to see the 110 degree mark later.
If you are going to use the ice and water, when fudge nears the
end of its cooking period, fill the larger, shallower pan with about
1 inch of very cold water.
the fudge reaches 235 degrees F on the thermometer, remove from
heat. To use the ice and water cooling method, place the 3 quart
pot into the very cold water, making sure none of the water gets
into the fudge. Add the cold butter bits and vanilla, but do not
stir in. Add 6 or 8 ice cubes carefully to the cold water, again
making certain no water or ice gets into the fudge. If you are not
using ice and water to cool this, remove fudge from heat when it
reaches end temperature and place on pot holder or cooling rack.
Add butter bits and vanilla but do not stir in. Whatever method
you choose, the fudge should cool undisturbed until the temperature
falls to 110 degrees F.
the fudge cools, prepare the pan and utensils. Line an 8 inch square
pan (at least 1-1/2 inches deep) with a double layer of aluminum
foil. With soft butter, very lightly butter the foil. Butter a clean
tablespoon or serving spoon (I use a metal spoon here) and a large,
sturdy spatula. Have the nuts nearby.
fudge has reached 110 degrees F, remove from ice and water (if used),
and place pot on dish towel or pot holder on flat surface. Begin
to stir/fold the fudge. This is a stiff mixture, and it will take
a couple of minutes to incorporate the melted butter, but keep at
it. Stir thoroughly, but it is not necessary to beat or to stir
continuously. I take frequent breaks for 30 seconds or a minute
at a time. Periodically, scrape the spoon, the pot bottom, and the
pot sides no more than 1/3 of the way up from the bottom with the
stirring for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. When the fudge is ready
to pour out, you'll notice several changes. The fudge will stiffen
slightly and begin to lose its gloss. It will "snap" with
every stroke of the spoon, and you may feel it give off heat. Working
quickly, stir in the nuts just until evenly distributed, and turn
into prepared pan, scraping out the bottom of the pot and the sides
no more than 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. If necessary, butter
your hands lightly and press the fudge out to make an even layer
in the pan. Cool completely before cutting.
cut, lift out block of fudge, still in foil, from the pan. Peel
back foil sides. Use a large, very sharp, heavy, straight-edged
knife to cut the fudge into 36 or more pieces; it will be necessary
to run the knife blade under hot, then cold, water, then dry it
off, frequently, to keep the cuts neat. I wrap each piece individually
in plastic wrap so it will not dry out. Store in refrigerator for
up to several days or freeze for longer storage; allow to come to
room temperature before serving.
Occasionally, when I make this, after I've turned it into the 8
inch pan, a thin layer of butterfat will show up on the surface
as the fudge cools. If this happens, just blot the butterfat up
gently with a paper towel.
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