Some day I hope to become a decent candy maker, but in the meantime I’m glad I found this recipe because it’s so simple and it works. Just four ingredients are necessary and you can heat them in the microwave – no double boiler (unless you’d prefer that), no candy thermometer, no waiting and waiting for the ingredients to reach the right temperature. The fudge will require at least 4 hours’ cooling time, but putting it together is a snap. I tried the traditional fudge technique for penuche (my sister’s favorite) not too long ago and it turned out like sand. For some reason I rarely have luck with traditional candy-making methods.
This recipe comes from the book, Cooking for Engineers by Michael Chu. I found it in The New York Times. I don’t know what makes it engineer-worthy. Neither of the two engineers I’m closely related to are or were at all interested in cooking, though I’m sure that’s not the case with all engineers.
I cut the following recipe in half when I made it. The full recipe (the one shown below) indicates a yield of 16 two-inch squares. Now that’s a big piece of fudge, but maybe that’s how engineers like it. Or maybe if you’re a train engineer or something like that, you’d prefer to bring larger pieces of fudge on the train, but I think most of us prefer more of a 1″ square. Anyway, if you use good ingredients you may feel downright virtuous about the health benefits of this fudge – dark chocolate, grass-fed cow butter, walnuts, etc. Though I’m going to use chocolate that’s not quite so intensely dark next time. I wonder how I could use this technique for a penuche flavor?
Absurdly Easy Chocolate Fudge
Adapted from Michael Chu, Cooking for Engineers
4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing the pan (I didn’t grease my pan; the parchment paper took care of it)
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (semisweet is probably the best way to go)
1 fourteen-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional; I didn’t use any)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional; I didn’t bother to chop mine because I knew I’d be cutting the fudge and the nuts would get cut along with it)
1. Butter an 8″ square baking pan. (I used a 6″ round cake pan since I cut the recipe in half and found that I didn’t need to butter my pan because of the lining.) Line with parchment or wax paper, letting edges of paper hang over sides of pan.
2. Combine all ingredients except nuts. Microwave on low power to melt ingredients, stopping every 10 to 20 seconds to mix well. The mixture should be heated as little as possible. Mix in nuts if using.
3. Scrape mixture into prepared pan. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours or overnight. Lift fudge on paper out of pan and use a large knife to cut into squares.
That’s it. Easy right? But you know what I’d really like to be able to make? Honeycomb. I’ve tried multiple times. The last time I tried, I got the texture right, but I find that the baking soda gives it a sickening salty taste. If you’ve had any luck with it can you please tell me how?