F is for Fudge

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Fudge Recipe from My Fun To Cook Book. Ursula Sedgwick and Martin Mayhew 1996.

Today is definitely a fudge day, sweet comforting deliciousness to be eaten on those days when you feel like crying and retreating from the world for a while.   A combination of sugar, butter and gently caramelizing milk, cooked to an exact setting point judged by the boiling time and the type of bubble, cooled slightly and then beaten to perfection. But the really important point about fudge for ‘Fudge Days’, is that its making  requires both concentration and action; gentle action, meditative watching and then vigorous action. Meditation calms your thinking and action aids recovery. And when  later you are curled up on the sofa with a good book and a plate  of freshly made fudge, or you are sharing it with friends and a cup of tea, all will seem better with the world.

I have been making fudge for as long as I can remember. My Grandmother lived near Penrith which boasts the most famous fudge shop in Britain – The Penrith Toffee Shop. http://www.thetoffeeshop.co.uk/fudge. The highlight of our visit was the small gift box of mixed fudge and toffee waiting for our arrival on our pillows. I fear we failed the ‘Marshmallow’ test before tea time!

This delicious tablet fudge with its glossy exterior has a delicate sugary texture, but its most alluring feature to my mind is the buttery crystalline seam that runs through its centre, giving the whole eating experience a sensual glorious mouth feel. Intrigued I set out with a seven year olds  determination to work out the secret of this most secret of secret recipes. Of course Fudge entails boiling sugar and so various adults were prevailed upon to guard this intrepid young experimenter from hot sugar harm. luckily its a relatively quick and simple recipe.

Like many experimenters I began with a known quantity –  the fudge recipe from My Fun to Cook Book – do any of you still have your copies? – mine is battered and various pages stuck together  – probably with fudge, but I still love this book and its prelude – My Learn to Cook Book.

Original Recipe – photo from My Fun to Cook Book.

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Original chocolate Fudge Recipe from My Fun to Cook Book

Although its not quite Penrith Toffee Shop fudge it is a tablet fudge that is glossy and snaps rather than crumbles if properly made.  The simple recipe lends itself to experimentation and I have tried it with white sugar, with brown sugar and with chocolate. I have added ground almonds and a variety of different flavours.   My favourite version is this simple brown sugar recipe with the addition of ground almonds. The almonds remove a little of the sweetness and add a soft texture.

My favourite experiment – Brown sugar and ground Almond Fudge –

250g Soft light Brown Sugar

50g butter

6 tablespoons gold top milk

a few drops of vanilla extract

a pinch of flaked sea salt

50g ground almonds

Method:

Put the sugar, butter and milk into a pan and follow the picture instructions from the original recipe above.

When the fudge has boiled for five minutes and is ready for the next stage remove the pan from the heat to a heat proof surface. Add the vanilla extract, the salt and the ground almonds and then continue with the beating and completing as instructed.

This recipe has comforted me in many stressful  situations,  from leaving home, to stressing about nursing finals.Its got me through disappointments and  heartaches and there is nothing quite as bonding as  boiling up a small pan of fudge with friends  in the middle of the night, sitting down to talk and eating the warm soft buttery brown sugar  before it has had a chance to cool.

Capital F for fudge day.

Today on the 24th June 2016 the UK majority voted to leave the EU .  Today  is a Fudge day for me with a capital F.    Enjoy the recipe, enjoy the making, and if nothing else I hope we can unite in the enjoyment of making  of eating and of sharing fudge.

PS. I  have by the way discovered the secret of the Penrith toffee Shop Fudge  – but that’s for another day and I will share it with you in a future post.

 

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