A while back, Sara, of Belly Rumbles, and Amanda, of Chew Town, got in touch about a blogging project they were setting up called The Sweet Swap. For a small entry fee, which was donated to ChildFund Australia, each participating blogger was matched with three other bloggers. Once you had received your matches and chosen the sweet to make, you’d package it up and send it off, while waiting for your own sweet treats to arrive.
Now, you may have noticed that I am not, exactly, a confectioner. Apart from chocolate, I don’t really like sweets. So in this instance I knew I was not only going to have to choose something that would post well (a challenge in itself!) but most likely something I don’t like eating.
I had a practice run making marshmallow and thought that it might be fun to make rocky road (fun for Andy and our workmates – even with chocolate marshmallow is still going to be gross).
I’m really sorry if any of my matches would have preferred rocky road: just as I should have been in the kitchen making marshmallow my toddler decided it would be fun to have temperatures spiking 40°C for a few days and ended up in hospital. There needed to be some seriously quick revision of plans and, in what can only be blind panic (the deadline for posting had passed!) I chose to make fudge.
Now, I have never made fudge before and I couldn’t even claim to have eaten enough to call myself a connoisseur, so I was really winging it. I chose to make this espresso fudge because I like chocolate and coffee.
I wasn’t happy because the recipe was a bit vague (temperatures for the different stages would have made me happy) but I was out of time and there for nothing for it but to hit the stove.
My inability to focus on stirring turned out to be a blessing: if you over-stir fudge it turns out grainy, but this, my first effort was dense and creamy with a solid, but not overpowering, hit of coffee.
I probably sound really pleased with myself, and I am. But I’m sure it’s all beginner’s luck and I’ll never be happy with another batch of fudge ever again!
- 1 tin sweetened condensed milk (395g - the standard size in the shops)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp glucose syrup
- 180g dark chocolate, broken up
- 3 tsp instant coffee (strong will do, espresso if you have it)
- Place the condensed milk, sugar and glucose syrup in a pan over a low heat and wait for the sugar to melt, stirring only occasionally. This takes quite a while so be patient.
- When the sugar has melted, turn up the heat (medium - high) and bring the mix to a simmer. Be a little more attentive with your stirring. In time the mixture will start to thicken and come away from the sides of the pan. If you are using a good non stick pan (and you really should) the mixture will come away from the sides quite quickly but you need to keep stirring until it thickens up.
- Take the mixture off the heat and mix in the chocolate and instant coffee. Mix until the chocolate has melted completely and then pour into a greased and lined baking dish (I used one that is approx 20cmx20cm). Allow to cool and then refrigerate. Overnight is best.
- Cut up: this is very rich so small squares is a good idea. For serving you may wish to dust with cocoa powder, but the fudge is so rich it doesn't need it. A cup of coffee on the side could be considered essential though!
I think there might have been a slight glitch in the Sweet Swap because I actually received FOUR sweets, not three.
From Gareth at Humble Crumble I received some black forest fudge – chocolate fudge studded with cherries. From Joanna at The Hangry Bitch sacher tortingtons – a quirky take on lamingtons, stuffed with a homemade orange marmalade, iced and decorated with flaked coconut, Aga at At Matter of Taste sent Polish biscuits that her grandmother used to make and Amy at Melbourne Food Snob sent chewy coconut caramels. Quite a little haul (and some of which is still being eaten, which is a massive win!).