Deron's Fudge

Chocolate-Walnut or Maple-Pecan

Summary

Yields approx. 64 cubic inches of fudge (50 to 60 pieces). Takes about 1 to 2 hours.

Hardware

  • candy or digital thermometer
  • heavy-bottomed deep saucepan, 3 Qt capacity
  • 8 x 8 inch square pan, preferably with sharp corners (used for final molding only, does not need to be oven proof)
  • stiff wooden or silicone spoon (non-metal)
  • parchment paper

Ingredients

Base (common to all varieties)

6 oz (⅔ cup)heavy whipping cream
4 oz (½ cup)milk (2%)
1 lb (2 cups)sugar
3 oz (⅓ cup)light corn syrup

Chocolate-Walnut Fudge — base ingredients plus these:

⅔ cupwalnuts, finely chopped
1 tbspbutter
4 ozunsweetened (baking) chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tspvanilla
⅓ tspsalt

Maple-Pecan Fudge — base ingredients plus these:

⅓ cuppecans, finely chopped
1 ½ tbspbutter
1 tbspmaple-flavored extract
½ tspvanilla
2 tbspmolassess (unsulphured blackstrap preferable)
⅔ tspsalt (sea salt or other mineralized salt prefered)

Substitutions and special instructions

Substitutions: You may omit nuts if desired, or substitute a different variety of nuts. Butter is assumed to be unsalted; if using salted-butter then reduce the amount of added salt accordingly. Do not use margarine. Do not omit salt altogether or the fudge will taste flat.

For maple fudge, rather than blackstrap molassess you may substitute ordinary sweetened molasses or maple syrup (preferably real rather than artificially flavored HFCS).

Corn syrup: You may replace part or all of the corn syrup with honey, dark corn syrup, or other invert-sugar solution in equal parts; though this will change the neutral flavor of light corn syrup. You may also reduce the amount of corn syrup used, though more careful attention must be paid to prevent agitation or premature sugar crystalization, which will result in a grainy or sandy texture. Note that “corn syrup” is not the same thing as the HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) commonly used in manufactured products.

Rainy days: fudge can be tempermental to make on rainy or highly-humid days. If cooking in high humidity increase cooking temperatures by an additional 2 or 3 °F. Note that the resulting fudge may remain sticky or gummy for a longer period before it finally sets.

Pay attention: when cooking sugar-solutions such as fudge, the mixture will stay around ~212 °F for a long time, but once the water has boiled out the temperature will accelerate more rapidly the hotter it gets. So always keep in constant attention. The cooling phase will proceed much more slowly and at a constant rate so continuous monitoring is no longer needed.

Safety: Cooked sugar solutions are extremely dangerous and can cause instant burns. If the solution begins to boil over, simply lift the pan from the stove and then reduce the heat level. Sugar retains heat for a long time, so always check with a thermometer before touching.

Storage: The finished fudge should be kept at room temperature in a container that is not air-tight so moisture may escape. Never refrigerate fudge or it will become sticky.

Preparation

  • Chop nuts. Measure and gather all other ingredients.
  • Line the 8x8 pan with parchment paper, folding along edges if possible to produce the most square and sharp corners (for more consistently-shaped pieces after cutting).
  • Secure thermometer with a clip into the saucepan so the probe does not touch the pan bottom.
  • Read the instructions through first, some steps are time sensitive and will occur quickly.

Instructions

1. In the saucepan combine: milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and molassess if using.

2. Over medium-high heat bring to boil, while stirring slowly and continuously.

3. When mixture reaches boil, stop stirring. If not using a non-stick pan, watch for the formation of sugar crystals on the sides. If you see crystals forming, wipe down with water or place a lid on the pan for 30 seconds so the steam will naturally wash the sides.

4. Wait until mixture reaches 230 °F (110 °C). Add butter and salt; leave floating on top, do not stir in.

5. Wait until mixture reaches 236 °F (113 °C). Turn off heat. Add remaining ingredients and flavorings, except nuts. Quickly stir twice—do not over stir or agitate. If adding chocolate it will appear splotchy and not uniformly mixed at this point—this is okay.

6. Let mixture cool, without agitation, until it reaches 120 °F (49 °C). This may take a half-hour or longer.

7. Add nuts, if using. Stir vigorously until it thickens and the surface begins to dull (3 to 5 minutes) — do not go too long or it will begin to harden before you transfer it out of the saucepan. This stirring will take some muscle.

8. Quickly pour into the lined 8x8 pan and smooth out so it fills all the corners and is consistently thick. Do this step quickly as the fudge will begin to set and harden rather quickly.

9. Let fudge sit, uncovered, for at least an hour, or overnight. Do not refrigerate. After fudge has set, transfer the entire brick from the pan onto a cutting board by lifting the parchment paper. Using a long knife or pizza cutter slice into 1-inch squares.