Saturday 30 May 2015

Midweek baking: fudge, apparently

I am an enormous fan of Heather Baird's Sprinklebakes blog. It is one of my favourite reads on the internet. Her recipes are always so toothsome and the photography is beautiful. I like the southern American twist her recipes often have and I lust after the dizzying array of cake decorating products and ingredients she has at her fingertips. In fact, the only problem I have is that sometimes I want to bake her stuff but have no access to the ingredients called for.

Triple decker maple peanut butter pretzel fudge (try saying that after a couple of gins) was one such recipe. I love peanut butter, and maple, and pretzels, and yknow, sweets, so this was high on my make-it list. Only, I couldn't find maple extract here, or peanut butter chips. Boo. I duly purchased some peanut butter chips during my last trip to the US, but by the time I did that I had forgotten why I bought them and so I used most of them in a batch of banana muffins last month.

However, I'm running revision for year 11 tomorrow and am going all out on the treats for them, so I remembered this recipe, probably because Heather points out it makes 4 pounds of fudge and only 71 hungry history students are going to be able to make a hole in that. And, as luck would have it, Amazon now stock both peanut butter chips and maple flavouring (still not extract but I can't be too choosy here), so the fudge was made. Here is Heather's recipe, adapted slightly for weight measurements.

150g bag of pretzels (salted, of course....don't go for the sour cream and chive version)
100g dark chocolates
60g melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg

Line a deep swiss roll tin (I think mine is probably 12x7 inches...a lasagne dish would work here) with greasproof paper, allowing the paper to overhang on all sides. Over a double boiler, heat the butter and chocolate together until they melt. Beat the egg together with the sugar and stir in. The mixture will quickly thicken (mine did, anyway) and become some kind of dreamy, glossy, chocolate curd-type substance. Remove from the heat and stir in the pretzel crumbs. Spread into the prepared tin and set aside to firm up.

Maple-peanut butter fudge:
2 14 oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk
2 10 oz. bags of peanut butter chips (such as Reese's)
1 1/2 tsp. pure maple extract

Combine the condensed milk and peanut butter chips in a large microwaveable bowl. It will look questionable. You will not be sure it is going to work.

Heat at 100% power until melted and smooth, 3-5 minutes. I recommend taking it out and beating it after 3 minutes and then again after 2 more if necessary. I think I probably overheated mine and those pesky chips still had not melted, so I had to deploy the trusty electric hand whisk to get it smooth. Stir in maple extract. Pour mixture over crust, like silky velvet. Refrigerate while you make the ganache.

Chocolate topping:
200g dark chocolate
3 tbsp double cream
More pretzels - maybe half of a second 150g bag, crushed. If you can find mini salted pretzels, they would be ideal to use whole for decoration. Heather uses straight pretzels, but Asda's pretzel selection was not expansive.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave with the cream. Beat until smooth; spread over the fudge. Sprinkle over the pretzels for decoration. Chill until set, then cut into smallish pieces. Definitely do not eat several in one go because you will probably feel quite sick.

Verdict? It is yummy. I would call it caramel rather than fudge, though. For me, fudge always has that texture of something that is almost but not quite still sugar: this is smooth and silky. I would also add more maple flavouring as it's not very pronounced. That is probably because I used flavouring over extract, though.

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