I signed up for Food Network magazine in the beginning of the year and this might be the best subscription by far. In the past I received Cooking Illustrated, Everyday Food, Gourmet and Bon Appetite, but this magazine outshines all of the above. The recipes they choose for their magazine seem to be the kind that I would use. The other magazines had recipes that were too simple (beans w/ soy sauce, beans w/ sesame seeds, steamed beans etc.) or something that you could totally come up with, on your own, whereas Food Network magazine has a pretty good collection of things that are new, innovative and just plain good.
Their January issue was all about healthy foods, but the February issue was a complete opposite and just plain bad. It was a chocolate issue filled with all things chocolate. If you never ever buy a Food Network magazine in your life, this issue might be the one to buy and keep. So far I have tried 2 recipes out of it and there is about 100 more that I still want to try. Well may be not a 100, but you get the picture. I might as well laminate every page of this issue because I plan to use it and use it a lot.
Now about the fudge itself. I have always wanted to make fudge. This time I made it not because I wanted to make fudge, but because I wanted something intensely chocolaty, almost chewy, but mainly – intensely chocolaty. I have been craving it for a while before I finally decided to go ahead and cure my craving.
I read the recipe, it seemed to be pretty straightforward and easy. It did have a little “typo” in the recipe, when it said that, it will take about 20 minutes for the caramel to reach the temperature needed and instead, it took 2 hours, and I am not exaggerating by any means folks.
Oh, and another thing. When it said “Simmer the mixture, undisturbed”, what is should have said was “Simmer the mixture, UNDISTURBED!!!!!!!!!” After 2 hours of watching my caramel move up the last 5 degrees, I decided to move my thermometer a little (and I do mean a little – an inch). I did have the voice in the back of my head tell me not to, but I did it anyway. When I moved the thermometer, I accidently hit the side of the pot, where all the big crystals of sugar were lined up. 2 minutes later I had caramel that separated and was not useful for fudge anymore. Mind the fact that I started making this fudge around 9pm, so this happened around 11pm. After 2 hours of watching my thermometer barely move, I had wasted 5 cups of sugar (I doubled the recipe). I was so mad that no words can properly describe my feelings. Mad, but determined, I poured another 5 cups of sugar into my pot and started all over, at 11 pm.
This time I was sure not to make the same mistake again.
So another 2 hours later, I finally poured my fudge into the pan and went to sleep praying that it sets right. Next morning, I found it correctly set and delicious It took me a while, but I got it!!
- 2 tblsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened, plus more for brushing
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, very finely chopped
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 tblsp. light corn syrup
- Walnut (or anything else you want)
- Line a 9x5 baking pan with foil, leaving about 2 inches extra to help remove the fudge later. Brush the foil with butter.
- Brush a large metal bowl with butter, add 2 tablespoons cut up butter, chopped chocolate, vanilla extract and set aside.
- In a medium pot, over medium-high heat, heat the half and half until hot, but not boiling. Pour the sugar and corn syrup in and bring to boil, constantly stirring and making sure that the bottom doesn’t scorch.
- Reduce the heat to low and constantly run a pastry brush dipped in warm water along the sides of the pan (this will dissolve the large sugar crystals that can ruin your syrup).
- Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and leave the mixture undisturbed (!!!!) until the mixture reaches 234-238 F (Mine took about 1.5 hours). If you don’t have a thermometer you can drop a drop of syrup in cold water and if it rolls into a soft ball, it’s ready)
- Working quickly, pour the mixture over the prepared chocolate-butter mixture. Do not scrape the bottom of the pan with syrup, there might be large sugar crystals that are waiting to turn your syrup into a sugary mess. Clean the thermometer and clip it to the bowl. Let the chocolate mixture cool, undisturbed (if you mix it, the chocolate will seize), until it reaches 110-115F. Set the bowl over a large bowl of iced water, to speed up the process.
- Brush the peddle attachment with butter and beat it on medium speed until just incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and beat until the fudge begins to loose it’s sheen and hold it’s shape. Do NOT overmix or the fudge will become hard. Scrape the fudge into the prepared pan and pat it into an even layer with a butter spatula. Smooth the top.
- Sprinkle with desired toppings and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Score the fudge into squares with a knife and let sit for another hour before slicing.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature or 2 weeks in the fridge. Consume at room temperature.