The other day, Carin made some yummy coffee-flavored fudge, and yesterday, James was in the mood for fudge again, but he wanted some plain this time, nuts optional.
I almost always feel like cooking on Sundays, so I said “No problem,” made sure I had my candy thermometer ready, and headed over to Tastespotting to see if there were any delicious-looking fudge recipes. I saw two that really looked good and clicked on them. I haven’t made fudge in probably thirty years, but I can re-learn things sometimes, right?
I guess I kinda lucked out: neither one used the old soft-ball-stage method I remember from the ’70s; each one basically involved melting dark chocolate and a little butter in some condensed milk and pouring the stuff in a pan. Okay, one had cinnamon, sea salt, and vanilla in addition, and the other offered the option of using half plain chocolate and half flavored, but still, a handful of ingredients, and maybe five minutes of active cooking. I love to cook, but I can surely get behind quicker dishes, as well.
I sent James to the store for ingredients, and since Walgreens is on his regular walk route, he went there. They had the milk and the chocolate, but not any vanilla (how am I out of vanilla?), so I made the fudge without it and just hoped it would work.
Anyway, here’s what I ended up with and it was SO easy and SO delicious that I can’t imagine doing it the hard way ever again. (Besides, I’m not a chocolate lover, so if it was good enough for James, it’s plenty good enough for me. That and the neighbor said I should quit my day job and start selling this fudge. Yeah, it’s gooooood.)
One 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 lb. dark chocolate (I used Hershey’s Special Dark candy bars, chopped up, but you may get fancier if you like. Often, I use Ghirardelli’s semi-sweet chips, but this time, I was limited to what was at the Walgreens)
3 tbsp. (1.5 ounces) butter, softened
First, find a medium-sized metal or glass bowl that fits snugly over your 1- or 2-quart saucepan. Fill the saucepan with water and bring it to a simmer while you do the next steps.
Butter an 8-by-8-inch square dish (or use what you have, if you don’t have that). If you have parchment paper, line the dish with that, instead, if you like. (For some reason, one of the recipes recommended doing both, and I’m not sure why. I won’t bother next time. If it ruins things, I’ll let you know.)
If the chocolate isn’t already in small pieces, chop it up or otherwise break it into small pieces.
In the bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Place the bowl over the simmering water and stir often, until all the chocolate is melted and the whole thing is the consistency of chocolate frosting or smooth brownie batter. Use a spatula to scrape the “batter” out into the pan, smooth it with the spatula, cover the pan with plastic wrap or some other lid, and chill until the fudge is good and firm. When we checked it at one hour, it was perfectly fine to eat (and to catch these photos), but could have used more time in the fridge.