Fudge is always a welcome treat

May 8, 2013 

Fudge at any time of the year is a treat. I like the rich, but not too dark, fudge; the kind that starts melting when it hits the tongue.

I also appreciate good candy-makers, because I find candy difficult to make. I have made the molded chocolates and candies, but those can hardly count. All I do is melt the chocolate or candy pieces and pour them in a mold. They look like they take work, but they don't -- my kind of candy-making.

Bernice Strickland of Bradenton also is specific about the type of fudge that she likes. She wants a good fudge recipe that does not have marshmallows and needs no refrigeration.

A majority of the fudge recipes need refrigeration for a while. Some are not geared to novice cooks, even one sent in by Debra Wells of Biloxi, Miss., that comes from Hershey's kitchens. The cooking talent level on the recipe is "advanced."

Candy-making takes skill and patience.

Terry Thomas has a great fudge recipe, but it does require some refrigeration.

"The request for the fudge recipe caught my attention for several reasons. First, my cousins also live in Bradenton, Fla., so I felt a kinship with Bernice Strickland, who requested the fudge recipe," Thomas said.

"During the holidays, my daughter made us this Nutella fudge that became a hit with family and friends and meets

Bernice's requests for no marshmallows," Thomas said. "The fudge can be stored in the refrigerator though the recipe says it can also be wrapped and kept at room temperature, cooler is probably better than warmer. I saw other recipes on this site that I may need to check out."

The site is http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/chocolate-nutella-sea-salt-fudge.

According to the website: "This is the fudge that you will dream about . . . Chocolate, Nutella and sea salt come together to form a treat that is creamy, sweet and slightly nutty. Better yet, this recipe comes together in a flash."

NUTELLA FUDGE

1 tablespoon butter, for greasing pan

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces high-quality bittersweet (60 percent) chocolate chips

1 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread), room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon (approximately) sea salt

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overlap on the sides.

In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate chips, Nutella and butter.

Form a double-boiler by setting the bowl over a medium pot of gently simmering water. The water level should be low enough that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, spread the top smooth with a spatula, and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate until the fudge is firm, at least 2 hours.

Once the fudge is chilled, run a knife under hot water, dry it off and run it around the edges of the pan to loosen the fudge. Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift the fudge out. Peel off the parchment paper. Cut the fudge into 3/4-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil.

-- Submitted by Terry Thomas from www.tastykitchen.com

"The best fudge recipe is with Hershey's Cocoa," Wells said. "My dad has been making this fudge every Christmas since I was a kid in the 1970s. When I was stationed in the Philippines he sent me some, but it got moldy from the long delivery time. I tried to scrape off the mold, because that fudge was so special being so far from Biloxi."

Wells' recipe comes from www.hersheys.com/recipes.

RICH COCOA FUDGE

3 cups sugar

2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa or Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa

1/8 teaspoon salt

1- 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.

Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234 degrees on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)

Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Cool at room temperature to 110 degrees (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 36 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds. 

Note: For best results, do not double this recipe. According to Hershey's, this is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary. 

Variations: 

Nutty Rich Cocoa Fudge: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and spread quickly into prepared pan. 

Marshmallow-Nut Cocoa Fudge: Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup. Cook fudge as directed. Add 1 cup marshmallow creme with butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Cool to 110 degrees (lukewarm). Beat 8 minutes; stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Pour into prepared pan. (Fudge does not set until poured into pan.)

-- Submitted by Debra Wells from www.hersheys.com

This fudge recipe is one that a friend from LaPorte, Texas, sent me years ago.

CANDY SHOP FUDGE

1 pound bittersweet chocolate or 2 (8 ounces each) packages semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

Line an 8-inch metal baking pan with plastic wrap. Smooth out as many wrinkles as possible.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat chocolate and undiluted condensed milk over medium heat until the chocolate has melted. Stir constantly. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the walnuts, vanilla and the extract. Do not over-mix.

Spoon the chocolate mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Remove the fudge from the pan, Cut fudge into 6 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. Store fudge in tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Yield: 2-1/4 pounds or 36 pieces.

Wanted: Stroganoff for slow-cookers

"I appreciate your healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes and always appreciate new ways to use the slow cooker," said Thomas, who contributed the Nutella fudge recipe. "Recipe sharing makes me think of a recipe I would like to obtain. Recently, I heard people talking about a slow-cooker recipe for beef stroganoff that is very tasty, I was told.

"If anyone has this recipe for slow cooker beef stroganoff, I would like to try it out, cooking and tasting. I always enjoy the Cook's Exchange," Thomas said.

Readers, send in those slow-cooker stroganoff recipes, please.

Sugar-free desserts wanted

Ruth Allard of Long Beach, Miss., wants some new ideas for sugar-free or no-sugar added desserts. She and some of her family members are diabetic and would enjoy something sweet. She asks for your help.

Readers, what low-sugar dessert have you tried lately? Please share your recipes.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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