Thursday, 3 March 2016

Traditional Vanilla Fudge

Made in the traditional way with store cupboard ingredients, this vanilla fudge would make a great gift this Mother's Day. 

Traditional Vanilla Fudge
Confectionary always makes a great gift, whether it's Chocolate Truffles, Turkish Delight or Fudge, most people would be happy to receive a handcrafted box of sugary, calorie laden treats.   This vanilla fudge would make a lovely gift this forthcoming Mothering Sunday, though it would be equally great as a "Thankyou" to somebody or simply as a household treat.

Being a keen home baker, I've been wanting to create my own delicious homemade fudge for sometime.  I've had several, unfortunately failed, attempts over the past few months.  Overly soft fudge!  A burnt pan!  What was once good food having to be put into the bin because it couldn't be salvaged!  It really become a bit of a nemesis for me.   Now, although I successfully made a Cheat's Chocolate Orange Fudge just before Christmas, with the aid of a microwave, I knew I wouldn't be happy just using that method.   Don't get me wrong, the microwave method is good but the need to succeed at the traditional method was like a bee in my bonnet; forever telling me that I couldn't make a straightforward vanilla fudge. 

Traditional Vanilla Fudge

Well, that bee in my bonnet has now gone!  I finally succeeded!  After doing a bit more reading and acquiring a good quality digital sugar thermometer (thank you Laura),  I have finally made a delicious batch of vanilla fudge.  It's certainly not going to be my last either!  I can feel some more fudge recipes coming this way!

How to make homemade fudge

So how did I finally succeed in making our homemade vanilla fudge (tips from BBC Good Food):
  • The mixture was constantly stirred, as also recommended by professional chefs James Martin & Phil Vickery.
  • The mixture was cooked until it reached 116C / 241F, also known as 'soft ball stage'
  • The bubbly, molten hot fudge was allowed to cool, undisturbed, to 110C / 230F
  • Flavouring was then added before being thoroughly beaten as it continued to cool.  This beating allows very small sugar crystal to form.  If the mixture is beaten too soon then larger crystal will form instead.     
Cleary sugar work requires accuracy in temperature and for that reason I would recommend, to those unfamiliar with making fudge (like me), purchasing a good quality digital thermometer (I believe ours cost around £15 - £20).  Although I had been using a sugar thermometer for my failed attempts it was a slightly basic model.  I found that the thermometer constantly slipped further into the pan despite using the 'grip'.  This resulted in a false temperature reading as it was touching the base of the pan and explains why my earlier attempts had failed to set firmly.   Basically, the sugar hadn't become hot enough despite the reading showing 116c.  The digital nature of the thermometer also beeps as it nears your chosen temperature.
116c is also referred to as 'soft ball stage'.  This simply describes how firm the sugar will be when cooled.  Sugars can be cooked longer to create other confectionary such as toffee.  To test without a thermometer, a small amount of the hot syrup is dropped into a glass of cold water.  The mixture should resemble a ball and once removed from the water it will literally feel like a soft ball.  Although this process is used by those who regularly make sugar confectionary, it doesn't provide the same assurance as a thermometer does for those of us who are less practiced.

How to make homemade fudge

And the verdict?  Ooh boy, it was good!   Just as it should be; firm, yet soft, slightly granular, rich, moreish and lets not forget delicious!  Not wanting to buy a new wardrobe, we shared this with neighbours and work colleagues who soon devoured the goods on offer.

So, let's get to it and bake!


Traditional Vanilla Fudge     Yum

How to make homemade fudge
Yield: approx. 50 pieces of fudge
Serves: 10 people
Difficulty: Easy
Storage: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months
Time: 25 - 30 minutes hands on; cooling time.

You will need:

20 x 20cm brownie tin (or similar)
Greaseproof paper.
1 heavy based Large Pan
Wooden Spoon
Digital Sugar Thermometer
Sharp Knife

For the Vanilla Fudge

300ml Double Cream
100ml Milk
100g Unsalted Butter
300g White Sugar
150g Soft Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch Salt


How to make it:

1.  Prepare the tin.  Lightly grease and fully line the brownie tin.  Ensure that greaseproof paper goes beyond the rim of the pan, this will help to remove the fudge once it has firmed up.

2.  Melt the ingredients.  Place the double cream, milk, butter and sugars into a heavy based pan.  Place over a low heat to allow the ingredients to melt.  Constantly stir using a wooden spoon.  Ensure all of the ingredients have completely melted before moving onto the next stage - you should no longer hear or feel the granulation of the sugar.

3.  Affix the sugar thermometer.  Set the digital thermometer to 116C /241F (soft ball stage) and attach it to the side of the pan.  Ensure that the thermometer is secure and not touching the base of the pan.

4.  Boil.  Increase the heat under the pan slightly to allow it to gradually come to the boil whilst stirring all of the time.  Simmer the mixture, whilst continuing to stir, until it reaches 116C / 241F (soft ball stage).   

5.  Leave alone.  Once the required temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and leave it undisturbed to cool down to below 110C / 230F.  This will only take a couple of minutes.

6.  Add the flavour.  Add the vanilla and pinch of salt to the mixture and mix.

7.  Beat.  Beat the mixture with the wooden spoon vigorously until the fudge has cooled to 60C / 140F.   The mixture at this point will have lost its gloss and be very thick.

8.  Cool.  Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.  Smooth it into the corners.  Set aside to cool at room temperature for two or three hours.

9.  Slice in cubes.  Once fully cold and firm use the excess greaseproof paper as handles to remove the fudge from the tin.  Use a sharp knife to slice the fudge into bite sized pieces.


Notes

a)  Remember, this is incredibly hot. Do stir the syrup carefully so as to avoid splashing yourself.
b)  When heating the mixture and waiting for it reach 116C / 241F it will feel as though the temperature is stuck at around 104C / 220F for ages, but it will eventually move and will then increase fairly rapidly.
c)  Avoid putting the fudge in the fridge as it can become sticky and not set properly.











This post has been shared with

Life Loving Linky hosted by Sally at Life Loving
Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup hosted by Angela at Marathons and Motivation and Ilka's Blog
Link up your recipe of the week The Mummy Toolbox Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Food Year Linkup Monkey and Mouse












34 comments:

  1. Yum! Looks lovely and I love all your tips. Rather reminds me of being a little girl and going to the Fudge Kitchen - a shop that specialised in making fudge (I don't think it exists any more or at least I haven't seen one for a long time). You could go and actually watch them make the fudge and the demonstration included all those steps that you outline (though on a bigger scale). I used to love it and begged my parents to let me watch it (even though it was quite a lengthy process) - I do remember how fab that fudge was. Nothing like the normal shop bought fudge - I bet your homemade version tastes even better! Well done for finally cracking it! :-)

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    1. I've never heard of the Fudge Kitchen - the smell in there must have been amazing - I'd have loved to have watched the process too! I must admit that some tips I've come across contradicted this process - they said not to stir under any circumstance. When I tried that the pan well and truly got burnt! I'm definitely sticking to this process and keeping my new super improved sugar thermometer under lock and key ;-)
      Thanks for your kind comments Eb,
      Angela x

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  2. Love fudge. Your right about needing a good thermometer and i think digital ones are best too. Im going to try this recipe it looks supper smooth fudge.

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    1. Thank you :-) I think must have been where I was going wrong in most of my previous efforts. Do let me know how you get on with it Jacqui,
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  3. Hi-5 for making proper fudge! I've just started delving into the scary world of sugar work (bought a confectionery thermometer a few weeks ago) and so far I've only used it to make Italian meringue buttercream. I think I need to give fudge a go!
    Hannah :)

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    1. :-) Sugar work certainly does seem a bit daunting, but I think the key seems to be having a good thermometer. Do give fudge a go Hannah, it's certainly worth the effort now that you have a the thermometer.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  4. ooh how very lovely! I've never made proper fudge before - just a shortcut recipe once so it is on my to-cook list!

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    1. Ooh you definitely have to give it a go when you get chance, it's certainly worth it :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Rebecca,
      Angela x

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  5. Fudge is one of my hubby's favourites although I have never tried to make it before! you're right though they make fab gifts! I get fudge for the family when we come back from our holiday's :)

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    1. It really does make a fab gift doesn't it Charlotte.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  6. This look absolutely perfect Angela and I'm sure any mum would be more than happy to get a batch of this on Sunday (I certainly would).

    I need a new digital thermometer as mine tends to slip too - it's terrible for making caramel as when it slips it causes the sugar to crystallise around it and I have to start again. Which one do you have?

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    1. Thank you so much Charlotte :-)
      We were bought a CDN digital thermometer (model DTC450) from a well known on-line shopping site that carries the same name as a South American river ;-) My only issue with is that it seems to only display the temperature values in Farenheiht so I had to do a little conversion from Celsius. It gripped the side of the pan really well though and resulted in a great fudge.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Charlotte,
      Angela x

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  7. Looks delicious - I'd be delighted to receive this for mothers day x

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    1. Aw thank you Sarah, we were really pleased with how good they tasted and of course with the fact that I finally succeeded! ;-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Sarah,
      Angela x

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  8. This looks GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing the recipe! #howtosunday

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  9. I love making handmade gifts for friends and family. I can't believe I've never tried to make this before, it sounds so easy.

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    1. Ooh you must try it when you have chance. It is straightforward - though just make sure you have a goof sugar thermometer to hand first :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  10. I love fudge. We always pick up handmade fudge when we visit Dorset (it's the best!) your recipe looks equally as good. I think I'll have to show this to my other half. He keeps on talking about getting more hands on in the kitchen. Shall I let him have a go?

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. Definitely Sally :-) If you love fudge, you're going to love making your own :-)
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  11. I absolutely love fudge, one of my favourite things. Well done for making it, I have made it once but its a bit fiddly. Will have to try this recipe

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    1. It's amazing stuff isn't it Alison. I found it was pretty straightforward to make once I'd got a decent sugar thermometer - it was certainly worth all of that stirring :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  12. This sounds great, I have been looking for a good fudge recipe! I have a basic thermometer, but will check into a digital one, I can imagine that would make all the difference. Thank you for sharing at the Link-Up :-) Have a Great Week!!

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    1. It was really delicious Angela. I would try to make sure that the clip on the thermometer is tight too as you really don't want it slipping and touching the base of the pan as you will then get a false reading.
      Hope you have a great week too Angela,
      Angela x

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  13. This sounds so good, I really want to try this! Thanks for sharing. Sarah #HowtoSunday

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    1. Ooh you definitely should when you get chance Sarah, I was that pleased with it that I'm planning on making some more this week!
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  14. Love this stuff - it's the first thing on my list to make as soon as I buy my sugar thermometer.

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    1. Ooh if you're anything like me you certainly won't regret the purchase, delicious homemade fudge is always as winner :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  15. I need to try making fudge again, I find it so hard to make, mainly because I don't have a thermometer and try the drop the mixture in the water method. These look delicious, I must try another attempt! Thanks so much for linking up to #Howtosunday :) x

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    1. I'd definitely recommend a digital sugar thermometer with a secure gripper Jenny - it really does make it a lot easier. I too have tried dropping bits of it in glasses of water in the past but I just ended up with murky water probably because I'd not got the sugar hot enough.
      Angela x

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  16. This vanilla fudge looks amazing! I bet it tastes super delicious!

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    1. Aw thank you Ilka, it really was yummy :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  17. I love fudge and yours looks perfect! I made three recipes last year for vanilla fudge but none of them was perfect (although they were not far I have to say). I'll definitely be trying your recipe! #FoodYearLinkUp

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    1. Aw thank you:-) My early batches of fudge really weren't great, but since I've been able to use a good digital thermometer which has a firm grip I've had far more success. I can't recommend using one enough to be honest.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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