Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Basic Fudge and its variations

Fudge.. that rich creamy chocolatey goodness that we crave.  Come Christmas and Easter Im asked to bring a few things every year without fail; fudge of varying varieties and one of my cheesecake recipes (will post some of those later).  Every year I, without fail seem to somehow produce 3-6 different variations of fudge without much more than a day or two's notice.  How? My basic fudge recipe screams versatility. With a few changes here and there your basic chocolate fudge quickly becomes a mint chocolate fudge, a walnut fudge, a rocky road fudge and a marshmallow fudge... all with only changing one ingredient and adding a few others.

Basic Fudge and its variations

Ingredients
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1- 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
dash salt
1 1/2 tsp real vanilla (imitation does not work as well, its worth the few extra dollars trust me)

Directions
  1. Line an 8 or 9- in square pan with wax paper
  2. In a double boiler melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt. Make sure to NOT get ANY water into the chocolate or it will become a grainy mess that should just be thrown away. 
  3. Once chocolate is melted remove from heat and then stir in vanilla*
  4. Spread evenly into pan, cool 2 hours or until firm, can be placed into fridge to help speed cooling but not the freezer as crystals could form in the chocolate.
  5. Once fudge is firm, remove from pan by lifting wax paper.  Peel off waxed paper and cut into squares.
Makes roughly 2lbs.
Note: From experience the better quality chocolate chips you use the better the fudge tastes... though I've been known to use your basic chocolate chips for my flavored fudges (mint, raspberry...), but I don't like to use store brand chocolate chips as they dont always set as firm as the brand names do.

*Variations
All these variations happen at step 3, when you add in the vanilla

Mint Chocolate Fudge - only add in 1 tsp of the vanilla and add 1/2 tsp mint extract

Walnut Fudge - Add 1/2 - 1 cup chopped walnuts... basically I eye how much walnuts I put in, you want a good chocolate to fudge ratio

Marshmallow Fudge - After you've added the vanilla let the mixture cool just a little bit so that you don't melt your marshmallows when you put them into the chocolate about 2-4 minutes.  Then add 1/2 - 1cup mini marshmallows, like before you want a good ratio of marshmallow to chocolate

Rocky Road Fudge - After you've added the vanilla let the mixture cool just a little bit so that you don't melt your marshmallows when you put them into the chocolate about 2-4 minutes.  Then add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Chocolate Raspberry Fudge - only add in 3/4 tsp of vanilla and add 3/4 tsp raspberry extract.  Because the raspberry flavor is so hard to achieve you want at least a half and half ratio of raspberry to vanilla, you can play with how much raspberry you add to vanilla.  The more raspberry you add the less vanilla you should add, unless you want to add more chocolate chips to off set the extract as it does soften your fudge considerably.

Mint Chocolate Raspberry Fudge - only add in 1/2 tsp vanilla and add in 3/4 tsp raspberry extract and 1/4 tsp mint extract. As before try to stay within the 1 1/2 tsp extract to the recipe ratio.. do not skip the vanilla all together though.

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