Fudge is a rich, easy to make candy that will always satisfy the sweet tooth of a chocoholic. I like to make it around the because it makes a good gift and is very easy to ship, since you don’t have to worry about anything going stale between the time you make it and the time that your recipient gets the package.
This is a plain dark chocolate fudge that uses sweetened condensed milk. The sweetened condensed milk is very sweet and creamy, and it makes for a fudge that is quite smooth and has none of that grainy texture that you will find in some fudge recipes. It is also a neat ingredient because it allows you to streamline the process of making fudge and eliminates the need for using a candy thermometer. I add a little vanilla and a pinch of salt to the fudge to smooth out the darker notes of the dark chocolate. The finished fudge has a great dark chocolate flavor, a very rich texture and a hint of vanilla in the finish.
The easiest chocolates to use for making a fudge recipe like this one are semisweet chocolate chips, which are a type of dark chocolate. Since you really taste the chocolate flavor in the finished fudge, however, I recommend taking a little time to make sure you are using a dark chocolate that you really like the flavor of (I used Callebaut, but have also used Guittard chocolate for this). You will notice a difference in the finished fudge when you start with a higher quality chocolate at the beginning.
This fudge keeps very well when stored in an airtight container. I prefer to stack the pieces with sheets of parchment paper in between the squares to keep them from sticking together until they can all be eaten. I recommend cutting the fudge into small squares, as it is quite rich and large, brownie-sized pieces might be a little too much.
There are many ways to make fudge that start out with some sugar and a candy thermometer, and while I’ve had plenty of excellent fudge made this way, I’ve also ruined more than a few batches by not watching the temperature closely enough. The idea of a worry-free fudge, therefore, appeals to me. And, fortunately, it is very easy to make a delicious batch of fudge with virtually no effort at all.
This fudge recipe starts with semisweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk – and those two ingredients make up the bulk of the recipe, with just a little butter and a little vanilla to round things out. All the fudge ingredients are combined in a a double boiler and melted together. You can actually do this in a large saucepan instead of a double boiler, but you will need to stir constantly to prevent the chocolate from scorching (the pan will get quite hot where the burners make contact) as everything melts together.
To make the fudge more interesting, I turned it into a big batch of s’mores by stirring in marshmallows and chopped graham crackers. They help break up the intensity of the chocolate a bit, so you get a nice mixture of rich chocolate, chewy marshmallow and crisp crackers. It’s a great variation on a s’more. Mini marshmallows are already the “right” size for this recipe, but it is very easy to cut large marshmallows (or homemade ‘mallows) into quarters with a pair of scissors and stir them in instead.
Store these in an airtight container to keep the graham cracker bits nice and crisp. The fudge will taste best within the first few days it is made. I try to keep the pieces medium-sized, but you cut cut them down to bite-size squares to serve a crowd.
Some men, for reasons I do not fully understand, insist on denouncing chocolate in all its forms. Perhaps they were once told that only women should love chocolate. I’m sure that this myth is founded on the (incorrect) assumption that all women will eat any kind of 5-cents-per-pound “chocolate” sold at the neighborhood drug store in boxes that look as though they’ve been around since the Eisenhower administration. Talk about insulting! Fortunately, even here in the states, general appreciation of quality chocolate is spreading like wildfire. Hopefully we’ll get this myth stamped out in short order. This myth is relevant here because I made this fudge for a friend who has, on occasion, espoused the belief that real men don’t eat chocolate. He does like fudge and brownies, though….
Fudge is a dense, creamy, semi-soft confection that melts in your mouth and is most often chocolate flavored. It has been around since the late 19th century. It’s origins, however, are shrouded in mystery. Some people attribute it to American college women using candy making as an excuse to stay up late. This sounds like a crazy theory to me. Doing homework? Studying? Valid reasons. Making candy? Delicious, sure, but perhaps not the best excuse.
However it came about, it is a popular treat. It can be made in a wide variety of flavors, ships well and tastes great. This fudge recipe must be one of the easiest there is. Based on this recipe, courtesy of Hersheys, I used different chocolate but followed the same procedure. The nice thing here is that you do not need a candy thermometer – just watch the clock when you’re cooking. It is important to stir constantly to prevent scorching your candy. It will start to set when you pour it into your pan, so just tap the bottom and sides a few times to smooth it out instead of trying to use a spatula or a knife to get a level top.
If you’re travelling with these, make sure to layer them with wax or parchment paper or they’ll stick together.