I have been hungry for my mother's fudge, but she made old-fashioned fudge that sometime did not set up. I wanted rich dark fudge without marshmallow fluff, confectioners' sugar, or chocolate chips. I adapted this one from Williams-Sonoma to make darker, more adult, fudge that fits the bill, and is easy to make. I am making this for Christmas Day, but I will this in my mind for Valentine's Day. At the bottom of the page I offer two more variations - Milk Chocolate, or Salt Topped, all are excellent.
Adapted from: Williams-Sonoma The Best of Kitchen Library: Holiday Favorites published by Oxmoor House, 2004.
Dark Chocolate Toasted Nut Fudge
- 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
- 6 ounces high quality 71% cacao dark chocolate chopped (for dark fudge)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces (European style butter has a higher fat content and will make richer fudge).
- 3/4 cup toasted nuts chopped, plus 28 more halves for garnish, if desired (almonds are a nice small size, but almost any nut will work).
- Chop your chocolate
- Toast your nuts on a cookie sheet in a 350˚ degree oven for 3-4 minutes (watching all the while like a hawk). When slightly brown remove almonds quickly from heat. Chop and measure nuts, reserve 28 halves for topping.
- Line the inside of a 9x5 inch loaf pan with foil, and spray with oil.
- Place unsweetened chopped baking chocolate, chocolate bar(s) and vanilla in a metal or Pyrex heat safe bowl; set aside.
- Combine sugar, condensed milk, cream, 1/2 cup water and butter in heavy 3 quart saucepan.
- Coat the sides of the saucepan with 1/4 cup water periodically (using a pastry brush) to help prevent sugar crystals from forming.
- Stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolves. Brushing down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush to keep sugar crystals from forming.
- Increase heat to high and bring mixture to rolling boil. Mixture will rise to 3/4 of pan height as it boils. Take care to control heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-high, clip on candy thermometer, (if you don't have a candy thermometer, a meat thermometer will work) and cook, stirring slowly, until a candy thermometer registers 230F. Times will vary, but will be about 15 minutes.
- If a residue formed on the bottom of the saucepan, don't scrape it out. Pour boiling mixture over the chocolate and stir until chocolate melts (about a minute). Mix in chopped nuts and transfer to the loaf pan, smoothing the top.
- Transfer fudge to prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle chopped nuts or place nut halves on top and press down firmly. Place the nuts halves closely to facilitate cutting small sized fudge pieces. Refrigerate uncovered until firm enough to cut, about 2 hours, or overnight.
9. Lift fudge from pan with foil flaps and cut into pieces. This makes smooth tasting exceptionally rich fudge. Smaller sizes are best, 28 pieces are ideal.
Store covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
For milk chocolate fudge:
To make milk chocolate fudge, substitute 6 ounces high quality milk chocolate, chopped. Use a brand you like to eat, for example Cadbury, Godiva, or Lindt. Resist the urge to use chocolate chips - they are designed to hold their shape under heat. We want our fudge to melt smoothly in our mouth.
For salted top fudge:
For a salted top layer lightly sprinkle coarse salt over the top of fudge, before adding nut top and before fudge cools.
Weather can have an effect on your candy making, especially the humidity. A cool, dry day is the best time to make candy. Making fudge in the rain is harder to do. The whole purpose of boiling is to precisely concentrate the sugar-milk mixture. The boiling point temperature is affected by the barometric pressure. Ideally, a steady barometric pressure reading, at or close to 30.00 inches of mercury, and rising, is perfect. If it is a humid, or rainy day, and you need to make fudge, add a degree or two hotter than the recipe calls for to compensate.
Your altitude also plays a role in determining the proper temperature end point. The general rule is to lower the boiling point target temperature by 1.9 degrees F. for each 1,000 feet altitude above sea level.