Baileys Fudge

It’s that time of year again when my kitchen returns to chaos as it transforms into a confectioners & production line of cakes & pies. There’s a thin dusting of flour on almost everything, splatters on the tops, clean tea towels are as rare as a dodo & sticky substances cling to the floor as I pray that no one I know dares to even entertain thoughts of popping over or dropping by. It can only be Christmas.

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A time for merriment, gifting, indulgence & loved ones (plus tinsel obviously). An expensive month to say the least, but I’m a firm believer in homemade gifts. Not only does it keep costs down but it’s so much more personal to put time & effort into making something for someone that you know they’ll love.

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Every year I make at least 4 cakes & puddings, batches of jams, chutney & fudge to gift to friends, family & the people that make me smile. The week before Christmas is a daze of marzipan & fondant (definitely don’t drop by then!).One of the firm favourites amongst my giftee’s every year though seems to be fudge. We all have a soft spot for a good fudge, it’s one of the most sought after & arugued over Quality Streets (after the purple one or maybe the green triangles of course).

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Fudge is thought to be a descendent of tablet—a medium-hard confection from Scotland made in the same way as a fudge but using sugar, condensed milk, and butter . The two treats use similar ingredients, but fudge is richer, softer & has a less grainy texture.

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Whilst you might believe that this rich, creamy confection originiated here in Britain though, it is in fact an American invention. The first recorded mention of a fudge was by a college student in 19th century America. She writes of being handed a recipe for the sweet which she makes for a college auction. The treat then became so popular that other students began developing their own recipes which they cooked over gas lamps in dormitories.

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The actual origin of fudge, including it’s name however, is thought to be a complete mistake which occurred when a confectioner was making a batch of caramels & ‘fudged’ the recipe, giving birth to the fudge that we know today.

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In Britain our fudge recipes now differ from our American cousins who tend to use whipped cream in place of butter & often add chocolate flavourings to theirs. Although fudge now comes in a variety of delightful flavours, often found in gift shops & tourist attractions across the country, each of questionable quality however as the term ‘fudge’ seems to have loosened in modern times to a confection made without boiling sugar or even made in a microwave (what have we become?).

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I’m a traditionalist at heart though & believe that proper fudge should be made in the traditional way by boiling simply sugar, cream & butter to the perfect soft-set temperature (116C) before being beaten vigirously until your arms become jelly.

Each year I like to experiment a little by trying & making new flavours that I think each person will enjoy. This year, that led me to Baileys. The result is a deliciously sweet, creamy fudge with hints of creamy whiskey, the perfect gift for the Baileys lover in your life.


BAILEYS FUDGE

Ingredients:

  • 450g caster sugar
  • 400g double cream
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75ml Baileys

Method:

  • Place all of the ingredients, except the Baileys, into a large, heavy bottomed pan & add a sugar thermometer
  • Gently heat the mixture until the butter has melted & the sugar has dissolved
  • Bring the mixture to the boil & continue to boil for about 7-10 minutes until it reaches 90°C on the sugar thermometer
  • Remove the pan from the heat & add in the Baileys
  • Return the pan to the heat & bring back to the boil until the temperature reaches 116°C
  • Once reached, immediately remove from the heat & leave to stand for 5 – 10 minutes until the mixture has cooled to 110°C on the sugar thermometer
  • Begin to beat the mixture vigorously until the fudges begins to thicken into a ball of the temperature drops to 60°C
  • Pour the fudge out into a large square silicone mould (or any shaped moulds you like) & leave to set before cutting

 

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