So, the festive time has absolutely flown by! I’m usually so good at avoiding seasonal diseases, but this year, lo and behold, I’ve been ill. Whinge, whinge, grumble grumble – it was bound to happen eventually, aaaand I’m over it.
It’s also kind of difficult to find the motivation to photograph things in Winter in the UK; the light doesn’t last for quite so long, the fatigue creeps in a little more readily and the fact that you barely ever see the sunlight when you work every day, it takes it’s toll on one’s sunny disposition.
It’s been a very long 2 months and I’ve not had huge amounts of JR-time (which includes this little site as it is just me that keeps all the cogs turning and the rust from forming). Alas, there is free time on the horizon, and (super mega bonus) I managed to snap a few photographs the other day when I actually had some beautiful natural light.
So, first order of business. Fudgey fudge fudge, lots and lots of fudge. This is based on a recipe I wrote about on my old website last year. But after a lot of practice, I’ve tweaked and teased it into submission, and I am happy to say that it is now completely perfect, and I’m not going to change this recipe any more. I am so very fickle with my fudge. I’m fickle about a few things, but fudge is definitely up there. Hard, overly sweet, crystallised fudge – oh lord it makes me shudder! It has absolute no place in sweet counters or in my house, it is utterly banished. So I spent a long time trying to find a recipe and a technique that makes super smooth fudge. It’s only a bit of extra effort, and it is so very worth it!
Now my lovely baking fiends and friendlies, I will say this only once (double points if you said that in a faux French accent, à la ‘Allo ‘Allo). Please, PLEASE, read the page that is dedicated to how to make fudge. There is a page. For hints. And tips. It is utterly essential that you read it before you make this recipe. If you do not read it, there is a 83% chance you will fail. Go… now! Oh wait… click here for the link.
The Return of Vanilla Butter Fudge
300ml semi skimmed milk
200ml condensed milk
100ml double cream
200g butter (absolutely not margarine, stork, trex etc. Are you for real? It is butter fudge, get a grip!)
700g caster sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (very good quality!)
– Grease a medium-sized brownie tin with a bit of butter and a sheet of greaseproof paper – it’s actually really useful to leave ‘tabs’ at either end so you can pull it out of the tin once it’s set!
– Put all of the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a saucepan and slowly bring up to a boil.
– If you have a sugar thermometer, bring up to the soft ball stage on it. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, boil quite rapidly on high for five minutes (do not stop stirring the pan, not if your bicep gets pecked off by rabid owls, not if the room turns to blackcurrant jelly, not ever!).
– Once it’s up to temperature, take it off the heat and continue to stir it. You can read about why you need to keep stirring it in the fudge-based tips and tricks page (which you should have read already, you naughty monkeys! That was a test).
– Keep stirring, and after a few minutes, rapidly stir in the vanilla, the heat will burn off the alcohol in the vanilla extract quite quickly so don’t flip your shit if it smells really strong. It’s meant to.
– Continue to stir for another 10 or 15 minutes, and pour into your prepared tin.
– Lightly drop your tin on a hard surface to get any air bubbles out (it shouldn’t have sloshed around too much, but you can never be too careful). And leave to set for a few hours.
– Once fully cold, pop the fudge out of the tin and cut into chunks/stars/taj mahals, whatever you like.