Suzi's Blog

Astonishingly Simple Fudge

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We think we live in a world of change, that nothing is constant or steady. But that’s not true at all. For example, the first fudge was made in Baltimore in 1886 and sold for 40 cents a pound. Fudge still tastes about the same and 40 cents in 1886 translates, inflation-wise, to about $10 a pound. That’s pretty much what fudge costs in stores or online.

The early fudge production was for fund raising at women’s colleges. In the late 19th century, the summer vacation spot of Mackinac Island in Michigan sported some fudge establishments. That began a tradition of fudge making that, along with taffy, defines summer sweetness, typically where water is found, either sea, stream, or lake.

We often leave it to the pros to make fudge. There are books and recipes galore. And failures are in abundance. I had, and still search, for a recipe that does not require a candy thermometer. Oh, I’ve found similar recipes but not one with the quality I like. I find getting to true soft-ball stage at 234° is about as easy as getting to Mars.

When I make fudge now, which is rare, I have a pair of high hurdles to clear: my taste preferences and Suzen’s.

I put a small plate with a couple of pieces in front of her.

“Is there more of this?” she asked. I had passed the visual texture test she always performs.

She took a bite. Then looked at me. “There had better be more, and I want some.” Success.

And success here comes from a most unusual location. Not Baltimore. Not Michigan. But London and not from a London candy shop [they rapidly adopted the treat themselves, making them in seaside towns, just like in the US]. This comes from the kitchen and imagination of Erik Lanlard. Eric is French by birth and lives in London producing wonderful treats and a series of outstanding cookbooks, like Chocolat.

Growing up in France, Eric never experienced fudge. His first bites were addictive. Eric took an extreme and scientific approach: recreate the fudge but do it with much less technical craziness. I’ve had Chocolat since it came out last year and I had flagged this recipe in my “to do” list. I just, just hesitated a bit. The ingredients and the proportions are just way different from the “classical” recipe. Here is the ingredients list from Alton Brown, for example, for a similar sized pan:

  • 2 ¾ cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup nuts, optional

In Eric’s recipe below, there is much more chocolate, no corn syrup or vanilla, and the smaller amount of sugar is confectioners’, not granulated. Sweeping differences. My hesitancy is understandable to be sure. Change one thing a bit, sure. Change and jumble everything around? It's fudge, for pete's sake, and candy failures are as common as rain drop in the Amazon.

How does it taste? It’s superb in flavor and texture. On my first try here I was not quite diligent enough in mixing in that confectioner’s sugar, which can literally be a bit flakey. You see some spots in the picture above. But the recipe works. No thermometer. No timer. It’s easy and quick and good. I plan on additional batches with some experimenting: some rum, vanilla, nuts …

Oh, yes, of course, out of that big pan I’ll save my wife a piece or two. I’m not totally selfish.


Chocolate Fudge from Eric Lanlard

Yield: 36 squares

Ingredients:

  • 13 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

Preparation:

Lightlygreasea7'/2-inch-squareshallowbakingpan.

Put the chocolate, condensed milk, and butter into a small sauce pan and melt gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and silky. Sift in the confectioners' sugar and mix thoroughly.

Press the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth over the top with the back of a spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and let set in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Turn out the fudge onto a cutting board and cut into 36 squares. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.

 

Source: Chocolat by Eric Lanlard

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS60 mm Macro Lens, F/ 5 for 1/60th second at ISO‑160

 

Oreo Truffles: Easy, Delicious, Addictive

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It’s the weekend. A hot day. You’re tired and it’s still just the afternoon. The kids are demanding dessert for tonight and you have no idea even what dinner will be. Burgers on the grill would seem to be your destiny. But if you fail to supply a balanced meal — including some smashing desserts — the weekend will end with frowns or tears or stomping. And that’s just you. Who knows how the kids will behave.

Here’s a solution. Invoke those children with something like, “You want dessert? You get in the kitchen.”

No, poor strategy. How about, “Kids, you get to help with dessert. Get the Oreos and a hammer.”

Yes, that’s more like it.

I tasted these Oreo Truffles for the first time last week. I was just presented with a chocolate ball. I had no idea what was about to be consumed. I took a bite. I gasped.

“Do you have the recipe,” I asked one of Suzen’s chef’s here at Cooking by the Book. That’s not an easy question. Rian is a famed baker with a portfolio of secret recipes. How would I get the details of this treat. I like Rian. I did not want to have to resort to waterboarding. But I do have my priorities.

He laughed. “It’s on the web. It’s famous. It’s simple.”

How I never knew about this delicacy, I’ll never know. It’s brilliantly simple. It’s decadent. And it really is something that your kids can do. They can do the whole thing with you watching and they will giggle and drool to their utmost delight. Yes, they’ll make a mess, but so would you if you made this, so it really doesn’t matter.

Get your camera. This is a moment to embarrass the kids with twenty years from now at the wedding.


Oreo Truffles

Yield: 3 dozen +, depending on how big your roll the chocolate balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-ounce package of Oreo cookies, divided
  • 1 8-ounce package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 8-ounce packages of Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted and stirred to uniformity
  • Sprinkles of your choice, optional

Preparation:

Line a half cookie sheet with wax paper.

Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in a food processor; reserve for later use. Or cookies can be crushed by putting them in a Ziplock freezer bag, sealing the bag and using a rolling pin. With the pin you can beat or roll. [I was only joking about using a hammer, but you could.]

Crush the remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix until well blended. There may be little white streaks of cream cheese and the Oreo filling. Streaks are fine, globs are not.

Roll the chocolate mixture into 36-42 round balls, about 1 inch in diameter.

Dip the balls one at a time in the melted chocolate. Use two forks to dip, rotate, and remove each truffle.

Place the truffles on the wax paper covered sheet. Sprinkle with the reserved cookie crumbs or sprinkles as shown in the picture above.

Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover ruffles, covered, the refrigerator. You can eat them cold or let them first warm a bit to intensify the flavor. If they get to room temperature, they taste just fine, but you will have to lick your fingers.

If kids are involved at room temperature, baths may be necessary and the whole purpose here was to avoid tears. Remember?

Source: allrecipes.com

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5for 1/50th second at ISO‑3200