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2 oz. [60 grams] Bitter chocolate (or 6 Tablespoons of cocoa with 2 tablespoons of oil) 2 cups sugar (fine grained sugar will dissolve fastest) 3/4 cup milk, or cream, or half milk and half cream (Cream will produce the richest fudge but it is more expensive.) 1 tablespoon butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup nuts (optional, I never use them myself, but you might like nuts in your fudge.) a few grains of salt

Useful equipment: a candy thermometer and a marble slab 18'' by 18''. You might be able to make do without these, I haven't tried it. The marble in particular is useful for cooling the candy quickly.

1. Assemble all materials and utensils; see that hands and nails are clean.

2. Put chocolate into saucepan and melt over hot (not boiling) water in another saucepan until free from lumps. If you are using cocoa, then mix the cocoa and oil thoroughly in the saucepan.

3. Add the 2 cups of sugar very slowly to the chocolate, stirring well. (With granulated sugar, moisten with 2 tablespoons of water to help dissolve.)

4. Add 3/4 cup of milk and salt, slowly while stirring.

5. Place saucepan over low heat. (Note, no longer as part of a double-boiler.)

6. Stir constantly (back and forth, not round and round), until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Bring up to simmering but do not let boil. (This is vital. The sugar must fully dissolve before you let it go to a boil. If the sugar doesn't dissolve, it will recrystallise.)

7. Wash down the sides of the saucepan: Have a cup half full of water, dip the pastry brush in this, shake it a little leaving some of the water in the brush. Wipe the sides of the saucepan from the top down to the sugar mixture. (If sugar is standing in grains all up and down the sides of the saucepan, theses grains will keep your candy from being smooth because they will cause many other grains to form when you are working the fudge.)

8. Test your mixture to make sure that there are no grains of sugar left: Lift your spoon (this should be a wooden spoon), dip your fingers in cold water and rub over the back of the spoon. You will be able to feel grains of sugar when you cannot see or hear them. (I know, it sounds weird but it does work. I wouldn't suggest trying it if you are using a metal spoon though.)

9. Now increase the heat, and bring your candy to boiling and boil briskly without stirring. (Do not start the boil if there are any grains of sugar left.)

10. Boil the fudge until it reaches the 232 F [111 C] degree mark on your candy thermometer. (The soft ball stage.) You can test the candy by putting a few drops into cold water. They should form a soft ball when rolled between the thumb and finger.

11. If your fudge doesn't feel as firm as you would like, boil it a little longer to 234 F or 236 F [112-113 C]. (Here in Queensland, I have to boil it longer, due to the warm weather.)

12. Before the candy has quite reached the right temperature, sprinkle a few drops of water on your marble slab.

13. Pour the fudge from the saucepan gently and evenly on to the slab. Do not let the last of it drip on what is already there. Do not scrap out the saucepan. (Use scrapings in next batch or in other ways as they might start crystals forming in the fudge.)

14. Put 1 tablespoon of butter on the fudge, letting it melt on the hot candy.

15. Let fudge stand on the slab undisturbed until barely warm (not cold) to the back of the hand. This should not take over 15 minutes.

16. Lay candy bars on sheet of heavy paraffin paper on board or wooden table, making a rectangle 9 inches by 4 inches.

17. Once cool, work fudge with spatula scraping up and turning the edges of the fudge over to the center. Continue in this way, working from the edges to the center and keeping slab and spatula clean.

18. Scrape spatula frequently with a knife, do not add grainy scrapings to the candy. (Quite frankly, I add these scrapings to the candy, and I don't think it matters as much as the previous warnings)

19. Soon after beginning to work fudge, pour on 1 teaspoon of best vanilla extract and continue working.

20. When the fudge seems to be creamy throughout, but before it gets firm, add nuts a few at a time and work in well until all are added.

21. When fudge gets firm, place between candy bars making it 3/4 inch thick. After fudge has set, you can cut it into squares.

Well, that's it. After you have made a batch, you can decide if your equipment will let you make a double batch (i.e. did the fudge almost boil out of the saucepan, or overflow the marble?) My pan is deep enough to boil a double batch of fudge, but I have to use extra wooden bars on the marble to restrain it while it cools. A double batch also needs to be worked longer, but it will last longer too. Just double the ingredients to make twice as much at a time. Some of the comments added to the recipe are obviously mine, others added are not as obvious but still mine. Some belong to the original recipe. My candy bars are specially made for this job (I don't know where my grandmother got them from). They are the required 3/4 inch deep, and they are marked off in inches so it is easy to make the squares. Each has a hook on one end, that lets you attach them securely to each other.

VR: Nicarra RL: Lynn Alford e-mail:

Previous: Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Eggs
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Next Page: Pennsylvania Dutch Shoofly Pie
Fri Dec 17 12:40:15 MET 1993