If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I like to make and bake for my friends’ birthdays. This time, I decided to be brave and make something I’ve never attempted before: fudge.
Now, I could tell you that everything went splendidly and it came out just right the first time and tasted absolutely delicious… but where’s the fun in that?
This fudge took me two attempts; not many, I know but making fudge is not a quick and easy process, even if the recipe site tells you otherwise!
Attempt Number One, used this recipe from the Just a Pinch Recipe Club. Sounds easy and looks delicious so must be easy and delicious, right? Wrong. I am not sure where exactly I went wrong – I followed the recipe, I thought, to a tee. Perhaps it is our temperamental stove top’s fault… Yes, I think I’ll go with that. So as easy as the recipe and the positive reviews make it sound, I messed it up. Royally.
It started to feel seriously wrong when the (yes, vegetarian) marshmallow cream starting giving off a waft of burn and little flakes or black starting swirling around the pot. I hastily turned down the hob but the damage had been done – our kitchen smelt like a scout group’s campfire. I thought if I just stirred it really well, the rest of the flavours – baileys, coffee, sugar, sugar and more sugar would cover it up. So I carried on. I stirred constantly and boiled for the whole five minutes instructed. I added the final ingredients and continued to stir. When the time was up, the mixture was much runnier than I expected but I’d never made fudge before so hey, what would I know? Into a pan then into the fridge it went.
Nearly 12 hours later, I removed the pan from the fridge and pressed down onto the top of the ‘fudge’. It was still quite tacky. I thought it may just be the top layer (that makes no sense, I know…) so determinedly, turned the tray upside down and tried to tip the ‘fudge’ out. It stuck to the foil lining like glue and when I finally managed to free one side (through a lot of banging and pulling), out spilled a thick, gloopy, caramel-like mess. This was not fudge.
I stuck a finger in to see if it at least tasted good and could be salvaged and turned into something else (ice cream topping, perhaps?). No, it tasted like burnt marshmallows. I don’t know why I thought the taste would have possibly changed in the time it spent in the fridge! Wishful thinking? A hint of Baileys was there but let’s just say, I won’t be writing to the Baileys marketing team with burnt marshmallow as my idea for a new flavour.
Not one to be defeated by one gloopy, burnt failure, I decided to try a completely different recipe. Without marshmallow cream. One, because it’s really hard to find the damn stuff and two, because it was obviously where I went so very, very wrong.
I found this fudge recipe on the Bundy Sugar website (could that name be any more Australian?!) and seeing as there were next to none of the same ingredients as Attempt Number One, I decided it was promising. Reading through the comments, other people had added Baileys so I decided to follow suit and also added a dessert spoon of coffee (which I melted into the Baileys before adding).
Attempt Number Two restored my faith in my fudge-making ability. I ended up cooking the sugar and milk mix for longer than suggested (probably around 15-18 minutes in the end) as it didn’t seem to be thickening up in enough time. But again, we don’t have a very reliable stove and a sore stirring arm was better than another ruined mix! There was no boiling and burning this time, just slow, patient simmering.
I nearly cheered out loud when the fudge mixture turned thick as I added the chopped up Milkybar Buttons (my equivalent of white cooking chocolate) and then started to set as I spread it into the tin. After cooling in said tin for half an hour, it was popped into the fridge for a few hours, then tipped out in one amazing slab and chopped up into little bite-sized chunks.
As there was far too much fudge to fit into the gift jar I had to fill, the taste testing duty fell to me and my housemates. Oh, dear. It was amazing. Just the right amount of coffee to tone down the super-sweetness without overpowering the Baileys or caramel flavours. The fudge was the perfect mix of creamy and crumbly and although there are around 3000 calories per cube of fudge, the extra few centimetres on my hips will be worth it!
I had two cute little jars, so decided to fill the second with with an old favourite: coconut ice. Coconut ice is traditionally white and pink but as I didn’t have any pink food colouring, I made mine white and green, which I actually thought looked quite pretty. Besides, it was for a boy. You can find the recipe I used here.
I strongly recommend making coconut ice the night before you want it as letting it set overnight made a huge difference to the consistency. This is quite a soft coconut ice but it’s super-easy to make and really tasty. It’s very kid-friendly as there is no cooking involved and you get to mix the ingredients with your fingers! I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed that part immensely.