Our friend Mike, whose birthday it is today, is a big fan of fudge. I made some rum & raisin for a sweetie stall I was running at the local Christmas fair, and he devoured a bag of it in about five minutes. Normally I make him a birthday cake, but this year I thought I’d make him some fudge instead, and as he loves coffee and I’m trying to think of lots of interesting things to do with coffee for Lavazza’s CoffeeSet Match, instead of bogstandard vanilla (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), tonight Mike will be receiving a big bag of mocha fudge!
Whatever kind of fudge you’re making, I have a few little tips for you:
- Use a big pan. Seriously. When you boil sugar, it bubbles up to quite a height. I started off with my biggest non-stick pan and it boiled over and made a horrible mess, so I poured it into my 6.5l pressure cooker to finish it off.
- Use a sugar thermometer, and make sure it works (dip it into boiling water, it should say 100 degrees C, or 212 F).
- If you overcook or overbeat the fudge and it goes too hard or too grainy, don’t fret. You can probably rescue it. Tip it back into a clean pan along with half a cup of water, heat it slowly till it all dissolves, and boil it back up again to soft ball stage (118 C). It might come out a bit darker than usual, but it’ll be fine.
This recipe is infinitely adaptable. You can replace the coffee with a shot of any booze you like, vary the type of sugar (granulated for vanilla fudge, dark muscovado for something like rum & raisin), leave out the chocolate or add a different type, add dried fruit or nuts or marshmallow or just about whatever you fancy. But for the purposes of Mike’s birthday, we’re sticking with mocha!
1 large tin of evaporated milk (Carnation is 397g, the Co-Op own brand stuff I used is 410g – it varies from brand to brand but just get something around that size)
450g Demerara sugar
100g butter, cut into small cubes
120ml milk (full fat or semi skimmed, NOT skimmed)
A 30ml shot of espresso
100g white chocolate, chopped (I love the 200g bars from Lidl in the purple packaging)
Place the evaporated milk, milk, coffee, butter and sugar in your biggest saucepan and heat slowly over a low heat while stirring with a wooden spoon until everything dissolves. It will look very runny but don’t worry, it’ll thicken up.
It's not easy to stir boiling fudge and take a photo at the same time! Keep your fingers out, it's VERY hot.
Turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Continue to boil while stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (important! It will catch if you don’t and you’ll have horrible burnt-tasting black bits). You need to keep it boiling until it reaches 118 degrees C or 240 F on a sugar thermometer – this will probably take about 15 or 20 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can boil it for about 15 minutes and then try the soft ball test – drop a little bit of the mixture into a glass of cold water. If it forms a soft ball that you can roll together with your fingers, it’s done. If not, keep boiling and check again in a few minutes).
Waiting for it to set...
When it reaches the magic temperature, take it off the heat, add the chopped chocolate, stir till it’s melted in and let it cool for a few minutes. Then beat it and beat it and beat it some more with the wooden spoon. As you’ve already been stirring for about 20 minutes, you’re probably exhausted by now so if you have a willing helper, now would be a good time to enlist their assistance! Alternatively you could put it in a food mixer with the paddle beater on a low heat, but keep an eye on it as if you over-beat it will go very grainy. The mixture will thicken up. Pour it into a greased tin (I like using silicone bakeware for fudge) and put it in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up. Then turn out, cut into squares, and try to resist stuffing it all into your mouth at once as it’ll probably make you sick.
The recipe I’ve given here makes a cupful plus some…
My lovely assistant
…although it’s a very big cup!
Let’s hope the birthday boy likes it.
Don’t forget to enter the competition at Lavazza to win lots of Wimbledon goodies, including pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and exclusive sets of espresso cups created especially for the tournament.