Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Chocolate Fudge with Honey-Roasted Cashews

New blog, new recipe!

From an attempt to eat more healthily throughout the week, Treat Friday emerged as the one day on which indulgences were not only allowed but encouraged. For me, this indulgence more often than not results in baking or cooking an incredibly unhealthy treat which likely counteracts any efforts made towards healthy eating throughout the week. All completely acceptable.

Having baked for what seems like forever, I’ve reached the stage where I’m starting to go rogue, adapting and writing new recipes that deviate, albeit sometimes only slightly,  from the vast collection of recipe books that seem to be taking over my kitchen. I’ve decided to start sharing these Treat Friday recipes, ultimately as a new way of forcing my baked goods on other people which brings me nicely to this week’s recipe!
As I said, I will literally force these treats on unsuspecting family and friends at any and every available opportunity, and what better opportunity to do so than at Christmas? Yes, I realise that today is only the 2nd and that premature Christmas preparation is really annoying BUT let me share something I’ve learnt over many years of baking disasters – it’s best to practice new recipes, especially those you’re going to give as gifts.

For example, let’s talk about the peanut brittle I made for my parents last year. It looked great, golden, crunchy and gorgeous wrapped up in my special Christmas sweet bags, tied with obnoxiously festive green and red ribbons. When however it then got transferred to my parents’ sweet dish, a beautiful, elegant thing that had been handed  through the family, and melted onto it with the adhesive powers of concrete, this recipe attempt was deemed unsuccessful. Literally, you’d had to have eaten the dish to get anywhere near eating the peanut brittle. Basically this happened because at the time, I was really afraid of anything that involved boiling sugar (that stuff is molten hot!) and burning it to my pans. The temperature of the caramel in my brittle therefore didn’t get anywhere near hot enough to create the right consistency, the one that makes you worry that you’re going to crack your teeth but in a really enjoyable way. Rather, mine was more likely to stick to your teeth so forcefully that dental surgery was probably the only way to deal with it.

Anyway, lesson learned. Practice new recipes to avoid ruining family heirlooms and creating the risk of premature dentures (for the record, no-one ultimately required surgery and the sweet dish escaped unharmed with lots of scraping and gallons of boiling water). So this week, I’m practicing a recipe that will make a great Christmas gift nearer the time; Chocolate Fudge with Honey-Roasted Cashews.

It might cost you a very small amount to buy the ingredients for this recipe but it honestly makes enough, once cut up into small squares, to make gift bags for at least three people. Way cheaper than buying three boxes of chocolates from the supermarket.

I’ve made fudge before, messing around with glucose syrup and sugar thermometers (once I’d overcome my fear of molten sugar!) and ultimately the result has not been worth the effort. The glucose syrup I bought to make fudge before continues to sit unused in my kitchen cupboard, and while my sugar thermometer is occasionally used it is done so for recipes which create much nicer treats than the fudge I’ve previously made.
This recipe though, is so much easier and only uses ingredients that are not only cheap but that you’re also likely to use again. Instead of glucose syrup, this recipe uses melted marshmallows to create the right consistency for the fudge, and rather than having to mess around with sugar thermometers, you simply simmer the evaporated milk for six minutes exactly. This isn’t the only place where I use this weirdly exact time with evaporated milk, I also do so with a chocolate fudge frosting I make for topping my brownies (the recipe for which may never appear on here, people have been trying to get this recipe out of me for years, all unsuccessfully so far!! )

Ultimately, this recipe takes around 15 minutes to make and two hours to set, not too long a time to wait for this delicious home-made fudge. I use honey-roasted cashews in mine because I love that extra honey-sweet salty taste that they give to the chocolate, but this is one of those great recipes that is infinitely adaptable; add nuts, sweets, dried fruits, even biscuits if you want a rocky-road fudge! Tailor it therefore to your own personal tastes or to those of the lucky recipient of this gift, and also get creative with the decoration. Unfortunately with the batch I made, the rest of the packet of honey-roasted cashews didn’t make it to the decoration stage. In my defence, it was a small bag!

Some final tips before you get started:
  •  Line your tin with tin foil to save on the washing up! The tin foil peels easily away from the fudge when it
  • has set!
  • Try not to stir your evaporated milk too much when it’s boiling, but the occasional stir to make sure it doesn’t stick to the base of the pan and burn is fine.
  • I’ve used 70% dark chocolate in my recipe. I’ve tried it with half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate, my usual chocolate combination but it just wasn’t chocolatey enough for me. It’s completely up to your personal taste though!
  • Use a timer with the evaporated milk, don’t be tempted to just guess. Those six minutes are key!!
  • Finally, be aware that if this is a practice run and the fudge is not going to be given away as a gift, Treat Friday will probably turn into Treat Saturday AND Treat Sunday, especially if you’re confined to the sofa with a broken foot as I have been for the past three weeks!
Chocolate Fudge With Honey-Roasted Cashews
25g Unsalted Butter
275g Caster Sugar
150ml Evaporated Milk
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
75g Mini Marshmallows
200g Dark Chocolate (chopped)
75g Honey Roasted Chocolate (substitute with your personal preference!)

20cm Square Cake Tin or Equivalent

1)      Line the base and sides of your cake tin with baking foil, no need to grease!
2)      Add butter, caster sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to a sauce pan. Stir until the sugar dissolve (that gritty feeling will go) and bring to the boil. Bring to the boil and simmer for six minutes exactly!
3)      Taking your pan off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and marshmallows to the saucepan and stir until completely melted. Add the honey-roasted cashews or your own substitution.
4)      Pour mixture into you tin and roughly level the surface. Leave to set at room temperature for two hours before cutting into small squares. Enjoy!!
            Makes approx. 20 pieces.


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