Traditionally made vanilla fudge is a marvel. If I were forced to pick my favourite type of sweet food, it would be vanilla fudge. The texture and taste of fudge made using a traditional recipe (sugar, milk, cream and butter) is truly second to none. It is both crumbly and smooth, tastes like heaven on tongue and can be modified in an almost inexhaustible number of ways. For instance, this Christmas I made a rather large amount of Scotch whisky fudge which was absolutely delicious.
To tell you the truth, this isn’t the most convenient way to produce fudge, but it is the best. It’s a bit of a pain, since one has to stand over the cooker continuously stirring for around half an hour. However, the texture it produces is incomparably good when placed next to fudge made with condensed milk. Besides, that tat isn’t real fudge – this is and it’s incredibly bad for, something we’ll be ignoring for the foreseeable future.
If you’re going to embark on this wonderful fudge making journey, I advise each and every one of you to invest in a good quality sugar thermometer. Believe it or not, cooking involves rather a lot of chemistry. Sugar, for instance, behaves differently as it gets hotter. In this case the sugar needs to be heated to exactly 115C or 239F. At this point it crystallises in a certain way, this is known as the soft-ball stage. Apparently this is because when it is dropped in water it forms a soft ball of fudge.
This fudge recipe has received praise from everyone who has eaten it, whisky or no whisky. Oh and by the way, if you wanted to create your own variation simply remove the vanilla essence and add up to 50ml of your chosen flavouring. I’ve never added any more, but I rather suspect that this would change the composition of the fudge a little too much.
Makes 50+ pieces
• 250ml milk
• 50ml double cream
• 350g sugar, preferably caster
• 100g butter, salted or not
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Grease and line a cake tin of your choice, I used a rather large square one (roughly 20cmx10cm). Put the milk, cream sugar and butter in a fairly large, heavy based, pan. Heat slowly and stir continuously. Bring to the boil, keep stirring, and cook until it has reached 115C or 239F on a sugar thermometer. At this point remove it from the heat, continue to stir. After a couple of minutes add the vanilla, continue to stir for a further 5 minutes. Pour the fudge into the cake tin and leave to cool. Do not put it in the fridge.
2. Once it has cooled, turn it out and cut into whatever size or shape your heart and soul desire. It will last for a few weeks if kept in an air tight container.
Cost: Fudge is a pretty simple treat and its price reflects that fact. The entire batch, which will make up to seventy pieces, set me back a mere 80p – not bad at all, very frugal!