Fudge is a soft, finely grained (almost gritty) candy made from sugar syrup, cream, and butter. Making sure the sugar forms small fine crystals is essential to producing the right texture. Most traditional fudge recipes require patience, timing, and quick action to produce the right sized crystals. This recipe produces a confection that looks like fudge and tastes like fudge, but without the effort of making fudge from a sugar syrup.
The only ingredients you need for this recipe are one pound of chocolate chips (both semi-sweet and dark work well), 4 Tbs. butter, and a 14 fluid ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk). The chocolate chips can be replaced or blended with peanut butter chips for to make peanut butter fudge or chocolate-peanut fudge. (If you like peanut butter swirls, you'll need to melt the peanut butter chips separately and swirl them in later.) Note that one pound of chocolate chips is the same as three cups of chocolate chips - not two. [IMG]
This recipe is so easy, you can even do it in the microwave oven. Use a microwave oven safe bowl and microwave until the chocolate is glistening and begins to melt (be careful not to overheat in the microwave or the chocolate will burn). For the purposes of this article, I'll be using a bain-marie. Heating chocolate indirectly over the gentle heat of steam will make it more difficult to overheat.
Throw the butter and chocolate chips into a medium metal bowl or double boiler. Pour the sweetened condensed milk on top. [IMG]
Fill a small pot with about an inch of water and bring it to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat so the water is barely simmering.
Place the metal bowl on top of the pot to make a bain-marie. (If you have a double boiler, by all means, use it instead.) Make sure the bottom of the bowl is suspended above the water level itself (it's best to check this when you first start bringing the water to a boil since working with cool water and an empty bowl is easier than steaming water and a boil filled with two pounds of fudge ingredients.) Make sure the water is gently releasing steam - accidentally allowing too much moisture to settle on your chocolate could cause it to seize resulting in clumping. In my experience, this particular recipe is fairly forgiving, so don't worry too much. [IMG]
While the ingredients are gently heating, butter an 8 in. square baking dish. I should mention a couple of tips here that may help with unmolding the fudge after it has set. Once the pan is buttered, lay two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper down onto the buttered surface. The sheets should be longer than the container (a little more than twelve inches should be fine) and should be laid down perpendicular to each other. The butter will help keep the plastic wrap in place while you pour the fudge and after the fudge is set, you can use the ends that overflow the container to lift out the fudge. In the following pictures, I just buttered the baking pan and had to work at it a little to unmold the fudge one section at a time. [IMG]
After a few minutes over the heat, start mixing the melting chocolate together with the melting butter. Keep alternating between mixing and heating until all the ingredients are blended together (use your spatula to scape down the sides of the bowl at least once). At this point, if you want to add fancy components (like chopped walnuts, peanut butter for swirling, etc.) do so. [IMG]
Pour the fudge into the baking dish. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl clean. [IMG]
I don't like putting hot items into my refrigerator, so I like to use an aluminum half sheet pan as a heat sink. Pour a little cold water into the pan and place the fudge in the middle of the pan. A few ice cubes will help keep the aluminum cool as it takes on heat from the bottom of the baking pan. After about ten minutes, slip the fudge into the refrigerator for chilling and setting. [IMG]
Once the fudge has set, about two hours, cut into squares. [IMG]
This is a fun recipe to play with. Additional ingredients can be melted in or mixed in before pouring. Two different fudges (like chocolate and peanut butter or dark chocolate and white chocolate) can be made and poured on top of each other to produce different effects (try pouring on a top layer before the bottom layer fully sets).
Wow, this looks really simple and lovely! Fudge was always that luxurious chocolate treat I got in small quaint vacation spots with lots of bed & breakfasts. Maybe I'll make this recipe at home one of these days & pretend to be on vacation...
Can be made with even less fuss in a glass bowl in the microwave. Partially melt chocolate and butter in large glass mixing bowl in microwave. Remove and stir until completely melted. Stir in condensed milk (and optional nuts or other fancies); pour into baking dish lined with plastic wrap. Cover with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate or chill to set. Peel off plastic wrap and cut into squares. Done this way the recipe is (almost) totally little-kid-safe as no hot water, hot pans, or stoves are involved.
Joined: 10 May 2005 Posts: 1603 Location: Austin, TX (USA)
Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 8:59 pm Post subject:
My only reservation about microwaving is that you need to be careful not to burn the chocolate. As the last anonymous commenter mentioned, only heat until the chocolate is partially melted and mix until the rest is melted through residual heat. Often, this will involve 10-15 second microwave sessions and then a quick check to see if the chips have begun to glisten.
Also, please use a microwave safe bowl - not all glass bowls are microwave safe. Microwave safe glass bowls are manufacturered in such a way as to guarantee no air bubbles are trapped in the glass. Regular glass bowls may crack or even shatter under the right circumstances. The chances are good that most of your glassware at home is microwave safe, but it can be a nasty surprise when you accidentally microwave souvenir glassware.
I love making fudge this way, it's so simple. An alternate version is to use 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 14 oz can condensed milk, and 1 tsp vanilla. Melt chocolate, add condensed milk, stir in vanilla. Add optional nuts, butterscotch chips, cherries, etc. Then pour into pan and cool. mmmmmmm.
Really enjoy your site, thanks for all the cooking tips and recipe charts -- so helpful!
Joined: 10 May 2005 Posts: 1603 Location: Austin, TX (USA)
Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:05 pm Post subject:
Hi Michael, I really like your site even though I'm not much of an engineer myself.
Is a bain-marie the same as a double boiler? I always thought that a bain-marie is a water bath, meaning the container holding the ingredients has to be sitting in the water.
For the purposes of this application, a bain marie and a double boiler perform the same action - gentle heating over water. When working with chocolate, it is important to not have the bowl touch the water since that will transmit heat faster than only steam heating. In both cases, it is still considered a bain marie (bowl in water, bowl over water).
As a side note - there are companies that make "double boilers" that can be set so you can partially submerge the top layer pot into the water in the second pot as well as using them in the traditional double boiler (elevated) configuration.
HI mike, this is a cool blog. I'm an engineer myself and I really enjoy cooking. Thinking of switching over to become a chef. Is this just a hobby for you or are u actually into professional cooking, by any chance?