Fudge up

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It’s half term in the UK next week and I’m off to Amsterdam for a few days. Everyone I know has been to Amsterdam except, it seems, me. ‘Yeah Amsterdam, really cool, went when I was 18…’ they all say, their eyes glazing over with fond nostalgia, ‘…can’t actually remember a thing about it though.’ I can’t think why this would be, can you?

So I plan to be too busy enjoying myself (with nothing stronger than a vaasje of Oranjeboom, I’ll have you know) to cook or indeed write next week, so here’s a recipe for that fudge I mentioned last time. It really is a bit of a bugger to make and not something you would want to do with small children nibbling at your ankles, but if you have a spare hour and you can be bothered, you won’t regret it. (This is a lie. The risk of failure and third degree burns is massive, it’s a right bastard to clear up, and if it does work, it’s so moreish, in the way that only melted butter and sugar can be, you are guaranteed to gain a dress size and some tooth decay to boot).

You could, of course, make fudge with condensed milk rather than this full-on dairy version (there’s usually a recipe on the side of the tin) thereby doing away altogether with the need for boiling, a sugar thermometer or the risk of your mixture turning into a grainy inedible mass, but what would be the fun in that?

Vanilla fudge

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This is adapted from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh F-W. I use a mix of white and brown sugar, not just for flavour, but because I found that with white sugar only the mixture would often reach ‘soft-ball’ stage before it had actually caramelised so the end colour would be a bit insipid and off-putting. The brown sugar adds colour right from the start.

Good luck and have a great week.

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g light brown soft sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 100g double cream
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  1.  Line the bottom of a tin measuring approx 25cm x 15cm with baking parchment.
  2.  In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter, cream, syrup and sugars over a low heat, stirring gently (I use a spatula here) but constantly. (Make sure the pan is no more than a third full as the mixture bubbles up when it boils.)
  3. When the sugar has completely dissolved and no crystals are visible on the back of a spoon (this takes at least 20 minutes – yawn) stop stirring and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Using a sugar thermometer, boil until the mixture reaches soft ball stage, 116°C.
  4. Take pan off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Then add salt and vanilla and, using a handheld electric mixer, beat until the mixture becomes grainy, matt in appearance and starts to come away from the edge of the pan.
  5. Pour into prepared tin, smooth over and leave to set for a few hours. When set, remove the fudge from the tin and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Variations

Before whisking add any of the following to the fudge mixture:

  • chopped nuts
  • dried fruit
  • chopped stem ginger
  • different flavoured essences e.g. peppermint
  • cocoa powder
  • crumbled cannabis (just kidding)
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