Christmas this year has been a little bit unusual. I'm 7 months pregnant and the thought of waddling my freakishly large arse through a shopping centre made me want to cry and I wasn't quite organised enough to get everything online. The solution I thought was fudge. I'd had a little experiment in the autumn with mixed success. The ginger fudge was off the hook but the rum and raisin was appallingly bad. The main problem is getting the temperature right so that the fudge sets to the right texture. A sugar or jam thermometer is the way to go here. They are about £5-£6 for a simple one but it will save you so much hassle.
The biggest success was by far the Malteser fudge and a mince pie fudge, which unfortunately all got eaten or posted to friends before I got round to taking a picture. Anyway, they are both easypeasy to make and have a big wow factor.
What you'll need: A medium sized non stick sauce pan A silicone or wooden spatula A baking tray lined with non stick baking paper Sugar thermometer or nerves of steel
Basic fudge ingredients:
397g can Condensed Milk
150ml (¼pt) milk
450g (1lb) demerara sugar
115g (4oz) butter
1 tsp salt
For the Mince Pie Fudge:
3 tbls mincemeat
1 tsp mixed spice
chopped glace cherries
All butter shortbread biscuits broken into chunky pieces
For the Malteser Fudge:
100g chocolate (dark chocolate or milk, whatever your preference), broken into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
LOADS of Maltesers, some crushed, some whole
Making the fudge:
Heat the milks, sugar and butter in a large, non-stick saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely.
Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously and scraping the base and sides of the pan, if you are using a sugar thermometer bring the bubbling inferno up to 117oC. If you haven't got a thermometer then drop little fudge into a jug of ice-cold water, if the fudge sets into a soft ball them you should be at the right stage.
Remove from the heat and beat for 10 minutes until thick and grainy (I used my mixer for this as it is arm achingly hard work)
Now is where you make the fudge a work of art:
For the Mince Pie fudge - gently combine all the other ingredients, mixing the biscuits in last so they don't get all crunched up. Turn the mixture into the lined baking tray and push the fudge down until it is flat. Leave to cool and cut into pieces.
For the Malteser fudge - stir in the vanilla extract and the broken up chocolate, it should melt in the residual heat of the mixture
Turn the mixture onto a lined baking tray, push the fudge down until flat.
Take whole Maltesers and push them all over the still warm fudge, working quickly so the mixture doesn't get too cool. Pour the crushed Maltesers over the top and gently push them down. Leave to cool, cut into pieces.