…Please Stand Up?
Ask almost any American in the United States what fudge is and I’m willing to bet my cooking mojo the answer will have the word “chocolate” in there somewhere. When I think of fudge, I think of sinful, creamy goodness that melts in your mouth. “How can this be” you ask, “when you don’t like chocolate”? Well, the answer is very simple: There is no chocolate in real fudge! None whatsoever.
Even though fudge is an American invention and the first fudge was indeed chocolate free. It consisted of little more than cream, milk, sugar and butter boiled to the softball stage and then whipped while it cooled. However, for reason, the word fudge has become synonymous with chocolate and even more specific, extra chocolatiness like say fudge brownies and chocolate fudge cakes. In the UK, the fudge is what I described the original fudge to be and is not necessarily associated with chocolate. Most of the fudge in the US is indeed chocolate fudge but other flavors can be found, particularly peanut butter fudge. Flavors other than chocolate are referred to by their flavor and chocolate fudge is just fudge.
The reason why this has happened is unknown to me but it does disturb me a bit. Maybe I’m just too anal retentive about some things but I suspect it has more to do with the fact that I hate chocolate but like fudge. The real fudge that is.
When I was looking for fudge recipes to try, every American recipe was for chocolate fudge. I finally found a British fudge recipe that sounded good so I went ahead and tried it. I ended up making it twice, once yesterday and once today. I was determined to get it right. The recipe calls for Golden Syrup which is a very British thing. I had Golden Syrup but I decided to use corn syrup instead since it is more readily available in the US and it works just as well as the Golden Syrup sometimes. I thought I had nailed it until I tried to cut it into cubes. The fudge was just too soft to be cut and remained so until we put it in the fridge. However, the taste was great.
I decided to give it another go today with the Golden Syrup this time. It made a huge difference not just in the consistency but in the color and taste as well. Yesterday’s fudge was very pale in color, looked just like condensed milk and today’s was a deep caramel color which is more like it. The two fudges tasted completely different and while yesterday’s was great, today’s, the one with the Golden Syrup, tasted even better. They were like night and day. It still needed a bit of refrigeration but nothing like yesterdays. So, my advice is, use the Golden Syrup. Although it is not easy to find and you certainly won’t find it at your local supermarket, it is not impossible to find nor is it terribly expensive. I know that Whole Foods carries it for sure and you can buy it online from Surfas and British Depot.
200ml whole milk
250g unsalted butter
1kg granulated sugar
5 tbsp Golden Syrup
400g condensed milk
Put all the ingredients in a large pan and boil on high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 115°C on a candy thermometer.
Pour into a mixing bowl and leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Whisk until the sugar crystallizes turning the mixture from toffee to fudge. It will look matte and a little grainy.
Spoon into a baking tray lined with greaseproof (parchment) paper and cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator until firm enough to cut into squares, about 1 hour. Cut into squares using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to stop from getting too soft.
Yes, you must weigh the ingredients and use a thermometer! For the whisking part, you will want to use, at the very least, an electric mixer. I used my electric mixer yesterday and it took about 15 minutes of whisking. I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer today and it was quicker still. I don’t even want to think about how long it would take if whisking by hand. Be careful when you are cooking the mixture, it spits with a vengeance!
The fudge is incredibly good and incredibly rich. So rich indeed that I had a difficult time eating more than once piece and I have a hell of a sweet tooth. I plan on giving some away to my family and let them deal with the expanding waistline and dentist bills!