This is a guest post from my friend Gemma of LittleGems, who this year started up a small cottage business seller homemade fudge. You can take it on good authority that her fudge and flavours are AMAZING! She was kind enough to share this guest post of her traditional fudge recipe in case you fancy giving it a go. Over to you Gemma….
Everyone likes fudge don’t they?.. Sweet, creamy, and nostalgic. But now there’s a new kid on the block; the exciting fusion between amazing tasting fudge and much-loved dessert and sweet confectionary classics. The result for me was a new business and burgeoning career in the art of fudge-making.
I first made fudge when money was tight and I needed some Christmas presents. It was a one-off and I didn’t make it again despite being very well received by the recipients. It’s the same old story; children, jobs and life (plus the odd diet or four) got in the way.
But at the start of the year, having just had my third child and being off-work on maternity leave, I thought I’d give it another go. Seeing a slow-cooker recipe on Blissful Domestication gave me the inspiration to make fudge again. It was such a simple recipe and, for once, I had all the ingredients to hand.
Using the children’s left-over chocolate and a dusty tin of condensed milk I had at the back of the cupboard I took the slow-cooker out of its winter hibernation and bunged the ingredients in. The result…. fabulous, creamy, chocolatey, gorgeous tasting fudge!
It was so delicious that I began experimenting with lots of different flavours, using my family as a sounding board to see which ones worked and which ones didn’t…without being big-headed, pretty much every one was a winner. After taking a few pictures of my favourite flavours and uploading to social media, other people started enquiring and the orders began to arrive.
Some people claim that using a slow-cooker is not the traditional way fudge is made. These fudge purists are absolutely right, and as such, I have put my hand to the traditional method too. The recipe and method below are based on a traditional fudge, made on the hob using high temperatures and cooling to produce a creamy, yet crumbly textured delightful fudge.
Lots of my friends aren’t keen on trying-out sugar-based recipes, the science and techniques can be a bit off-putting. But you really don’t need to worry; my recipe is as easy as it is yummy. The one technical bit of kit that helps is having a sugar thermometer, this ensures you boil the mixture at the right temperature for the correct duration. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer don’t despair, you can use the “soft ball” technique (see method below for instructions).
There are so many wonderful things I have recently discovered about fudge, the flavour combinations, the different textures and the differing methods of creation. But my favourite is that it can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months. Don’t worry, it probably won’t last two days without being discovered and consumed by eager mouths.
The Traditional Fudge Recipe
450g golden caster sugar
(I didn’t have golden caster sugar and it was hard to find so I used white caster sugar and one tablespoon of brown sugar to make the colour golden)
1 tbsp glucose
400g double cream
1 tbsp of vanilla essence or vanilla bean paste (you can however use any flavour you like)
1 pinch of salt (I like a coarse sea salt for texture)
How You Make Your Traditional Fudge
- Line a 20 x 20 inch tin, or bread loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Pop in the fridge
- Tip the sugar, cream, butter and glucose into a heavy-bottomed pan and place on the hob on a medium heat. Stir the mixture together, dissolving the sugar and melting the butter. This will give you a wonderfully golden, creamy mix.
- Place your sugar thermometer in the mix. You are looking for it to be completely covered at the bottom – If you can’t do this, transfer the mix to a smaller saucepan. The syrup will need to boil and bubble up.
Increase the heat so that the mixture begins to boil. You will need to stir occasionally, you can’t over stir the mixture but stirring it means it will take longer to boil, so every few minutes is fine. You are looking for the mixture to boil consistently and constantly for around 3-5 minutes and a temperature of 116C.
If you don’t have a sugar thermometer get a clear glass and put some water in it. Drop a small drop of the mixture into the water. You want to be able to roll the drop into a soft ball between your fingers. This is known as the soft-ball stage.
- Once this is achieved you will need to remove the pan from the heat and leave for 5 mins. Then stir it vigorously until the temperature gets to 110C. Don’t worry too much if you don’t have a thermometer, check the side of the pan for patches of fudgy looking mixture which can be rolled into balls between your finger. You will then stir in your flavouring and add the pinch of salt.
- Stir the mixture vigourously with a wooden spoon for a least 5-10 minutes. Warning your arm will feel like it’s going to drop off! The mix will lose its glossy-appearance and turn to a matt and become quite thick and creamy. I always say to people “its all in the beating” and getting to this stage means the sugar crystals have formed throughout. Before it becomes impossible to stir, grab your tin from the fridge and pour, spoon and generally wrestle the mixture into the tin. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
Don’t be tempted to put the fudge in the fridge, it may not set properly. It needs to set over a long period of time. Leave out overnight in a cool place. Cut your fudge into bite sized pieces and give as a gift or simply hide it from the rest of the household and scoff it quietly.
If you would like to see some of Gemma’s amazing fudges and flavour combination, or to place an order then head over to her Facebook page LittleGems.