Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cookies & Cream Fudge

 I love to make goodies for my family and friends during the holidays.  One thing I love to make is fudge.

 (I had to borrow this picture, because my kids ate the fudge before I had a chance to get a picture of the pieces.  The rest of the pictures are mine.)

I'm talking real, old-fashioned fudge.  Not that the quick stuff with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips isn't yummy, but it is rather expensive to make.  I can make old-fashioned fudge using ingredients I have on hand this time of year anyway.  I use the recipes from my Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  The instructions in that cookbook are excellent.  Just do what Fannie says.  It takes some time, but it isn't difficult at all.  Don't try it when you are running tight for time.  Pick an evening when you are going to be hanging around the house.  The mixture takes 30 to 45 minutes to cool enough to mix.

This is the grand total of the ingredients needed.  Sugar, cream, vanilla, salt and chopped sandwich cookies.  I buy the store brand and I used 1/3 of the package.  My kids were happy to eat the rest of them.

Equipment is a factor here.  You can't make candy without a candy thermometer.  Well, you can, but you have to know how to test it in water and that can be messy and tricky.  I also wouldn't recommend making fudge without a stand mixer, unless you happen to work out a lot.  You would need to stir the thick mixture for quite a while.  It takes 7 to 10 minutes with the stand mixer.  Ladies managed to do it in the days before modern kitchen equipment, but I bet they had help with the stirring.  That being said, if you have the equipment go ahead and give it a try.  Your family will love you.

Here is the recipe I used:

Opera Fudge

2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

The cookies were my idea.  They aren't listed in Fannie Farmer's Cookbook.

Line an 8 X 8 inch pan with foil and butter thoroughly.

Combine the sugar, cream, and salt in a 3-quart heavy pot, stirring to blend well.  Place over medium heat and, stirring, bring to a boil.  Cover and let boil for 2 to 3 minutes.  Uncover and wash down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.  Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan and continue to boil over medium heat, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (234 degrees F).

Remove the pot to a cooling rack or surface and allow to sit, without stirring, until the temperature reaches lukewarm (110 degrees F).

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the vanilla and, using the paddle attachment, beat until creamy.  The fudge will thicken and lose it's glossy look.

Add the chopped cookie bits and mix just to combine.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.  Cover with a damp paper towel for 30 minutes and then allow to sit and dry a bit.  Score the top and cover tightly.  This fudge tastes better after sitting overnight.  Store in an air tight container.  

Oh my goodness, was this ever yummy!!  I made more to give my nephew.  He loves those Cookies & Cream candy bars.  I think he will love the fudge.  

I also made the Chocolate Fudge from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  It follows the same method, but uses a few more ingredients.

1/4 cup cocoa powder or 2 ounces unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter, in small pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla

You use the exact same method.  Start by cooking the cocoa, sugar, milk, corn syrup and sugar. This recipe calls for bringing it to a boil over low temperature.  After it reaches 234 degrees, remove it from the heat and drop the butter in.  Do not stir.  Let it cool to 110 degrees.  Put in the mixer and add the vanilla.  Beat until it thickens an loses the glossy look.  

As you can see, fudge isn't difficult.  It just needs time.  When it comes to washing the dishes, let them soak in hot water for a while.  The water will dissolve the sugar and it will be a snap to wash them.

If you order fudge online it costs $11.99 per pound, plus shipping.  Other than the cookies, I just used stuff I already had on hand.  I could have made 3 batches from the bag of cookies.  It tastes just as good and costs far less to make.  Plus you get major points for making something by hand.