Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Easy Chocolate Fudge

fudgeMy cousin passed this one along a few Christmas's ago. Love how easy this one is. No complications and it always comes out great. Granted, it's not the same as the kind you need a candy thermometer for, but when you need a chocolate fix, this does the trick quite nicely.

You will need:

12 oz. milk chocolate chips
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated)
1 1/2 - 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 TBS. butter
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
chocolate chips, chopped nuts, sprinkles --optional topping variations

In heavy saucepan, over low heat, heat up the sweetened condensed milk (do not boil!). Stir this as it's warming so it doesn't scald. When it's hot (but not boiling), add the chocolate chips and stir until smooth.

When all the chocolate chips are melted, turn off the heat and add the vanilla. Add the butter and stir quickly until it melts. Add the nuts (if you're adding any) and mix well.

Spread evenly into a wax (or parchment) paper lined 8-inch square pan.
Chill 2 to 3 hours (or better, overnight) until firm.

When you're ready to cut...turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off paper and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature. This can be stored in the fridge for a week or so, just take it out an hour or two before you want to eat it.

If you want a topping (nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles), you can add them on top before putting the fudge in to the refrigerator to cool. When you're ready to cut the fudge, instead of turning the pan over, use the wax (or parchment) paper to pull the fudge out of the pan, and cut then cut it into squares.

Adding the topping to the pan before adding the fudge sometimes leads to it being mixed in and when you turn the pan over later, the topping ends up uneven; adding it on top just before refrigerating, you can press it lightly onto the top of the fudge and it will stay in place better when cutting.

Easy Chocolate Fudge, by Stephie189 on Flickr

This is a soft fudge that tastes very much like the chips you use, so you'll want to use a kind you like. Milk chocolate works better than the semisweet variety in this recipe.

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Chocolate nut clusters

Just something tasty that's very quick. I tried this two ways. The first attempt was using some corn syrup and a little butter along with the chocolate. Seized! Obviously did something wrong and since I'm not sure what, (maybe the order I added the ingredients, or maybe it was steam; I used a big metal bowl over a small saucepan with boiling water-- a do-it-yourself double boiler), the second time I tried what works.

I was aiming for a nice sheen and some snap. Maybe next time.
The second attempt worked just fine.

I had some leftover cashews from an unsalted snack container and some sliced almonds leftover from the cookies I made.

This is easy.

Bake about 2 cups worth of whole (shelled, unsalted) nuts (mixed, on a foil lined baking sheet) for about 5 minutes in a 350°F oven. Stir and check them every other minute or so because nuts burn so quickly. Take them out of the oven when they're very lightly browned (or tanned... too brown makes them bitter).

On the stovetop in a small saucepan (direct, didn't try the double boiler method the second time) melt three quarters of an 11.5oz bag (or all of it if you like) of milk chocolate chips on very low heat. Stir this continuously once the chips start to melt. When all the chips are melted and your chocolate is smooth, take this off the heat. Add the nut mixture and stir well to coat.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on to wax or parchment paper. It's best if this paper is on a cookie sheet that will fit in your refrigerator. Once you've spooned out the chocolate nut clusters, refrigerate until they're set. A few hours or overnight (if like me, this is the last thing you make after several batches of other cookies; it's time to rest then).

I usually put these (types of goodies) in little paper baking cups or arrange them on a dish. Presentation isn't really important because it's chocolate and chocolate never lasts long :)

Also think these taste best when they're room temperature. Store them in the fridge and take them out an hour or so before you want to eat them.

If you can wait that long. Mmmmmmmmmm!

More pictures here and here.