The Therapy of baking: Fudge

I recently bumbled on about the splendid TV entertainment that is The Great British bakeoff. I love it! I wouldn’t take part in it for a squillion quid, way too much pressure, but I love to sit on my pressure-free sofa and watch it. It made me want to try and bake everything they were baking. They made it look so easy. Ish.

I have loved to bake since I was little. When I was a young teenager, my parents would often come into the kitchen and find a cake resting on the cooling rack. I can’t say I’m a tidy baker. On the contrary. I openly confess I am incredibly messy in the kitchen. Drives the husband potty. But he gets yummy treats to eat so it all balances out.

So, inspired by The Bakeoff I was. And since I’ve been most comfortable standing recently, thanks to my stupid sciatic nerve, it’s been a pretty good way to pass the time. And so far, (possibly speaking too soon) I’ve not had any culinary disasters. So this week I’m going to share some yummy and easy recipes.

First up….Fudge.

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been a massive fan of fudge. When I thought of fudge I’d think of that rubbery sickly stuff that tastes of artificial nothingness. But this stuff….Oh this stuff. It’s crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth, gotta-have-another-piece delicious. Honestly, try it and then I’ll be your hero for bringing it into your life.

You’ll need:
397g can Carnation Condensed Milk
150ml (¼pt) milk
450g (1lb) demerara sugar
115g (4oz) butter

A few things first. I used Condensed milk light. Therefore I consider this fudge pretty much a health food. It is also important to use proper butter, not the low fat spread rubbish. And it’s totally ok because you used Carnation light. Here’s how I make it.

1. Choose a good CD and have it to hand.

2. Bung all the ingredients in a pan and put a dead low heat on. Stir. Keep stirring. You don’t want any sugar to stick to the bottom and burn. That would make for awful fudge.

3. After a few minutes the sugar should have dissolved. You know when it has because it looks all smooth and glossy. Keep stirring. Turn the heat up a titchy bit. Are you still stirring?

3. At this point you might be a bit fed up of stirring. Put your CD on and have a bop to your selected tunes. But the dancing must involve stirring. STIR! The mixture will start bubbling soon.

4. Let the mixture bubble away for about ten minutes. Is your arm aching yet? it should be. But don’t think the worst is done, they is way more stirring to come.

5. When the fudge mixture has started to look like frothy lava, give it another couple of minutes and then do this cool test, which should tell you when it’s cooked enough. Drop a bit of it into a glass of dead cold water. If it forms a soft ball, you’re onto a winner. If it kind of flops to the bottom of the glass in a mess, keep it on the heat for a little while longer and then try again.

6. Take the pan off the heat. Now go mental beating the life out of the mixture. Seriously, make it therapuetic. Missed the gym this week? Give it welly with a wooden spoon. When you think you can’t possibly stir it anymore, you need to stir it for about five minutes after that.

7. The mixture will turn from a shiny runny liquid, to a matt, almost paste-like consitency. If you can pour it into the tray, You’ve not beaten it enough. What you’ll get is a really smooth fudge that doesn’t quite set properly. And you don’t want smooth. You want crumbly.

8. Oh yeah, you’ll need a tray. Cover it in baking paper. Jobs a good’n.

9. Spoon the fudge into the lined tray, and pat it down nice and even. Let it cool and when it is cool, bob it in the fridge.

10. After half an hour or so, take out the tray, slice up the fudge and try not to eat it all in one sitting.

Voila!

I’d have put a photo of the fudge up but it didn’t last long enough to get my camera out.

The canny thing about this fidge is, you can totally put your own stamp on it, when you take it off the heat and beat it to within an inch of its life, you can add all kinds of wonderful yummies. Raisins, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, nuts. For christmas I’m going to make a load of Baileys Fudge. I’m salivating already.

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