I love sweet shops. I always used to get excited about the Pick ‘n’ Mix in Wilkinson’s, but I don’t think they do it anymore, which is a real shame. There were so many things to choose from! Wow, I’m really showing my age here, I didn’t realise I was that old. But that doesn’t mean to say I don’t get over excited in sweet shops anymore. But you know what my favourite treat always was? It’s fudge, without a shadow of a doubt. Recently I learned how to make my own fudge, and it’s the best thing ever. Just ask fellow Kings writer Amy – we would make it together, and then probably eat it all in one sitting in front of the TV, just like kids.
Now, you can make it in many ways. You can use condensed milk from a tin, double cream, or the traditional clotted cream. You’ll have to go on the internet to find a recipe you like, and follow it to the letter – if the sugar temperature is too high or too low, it could all go horribly wrong. Get it right, however, and you’ll never have tasted anything so amazing in your life. However, there are some general tips I can help you with, and if you use them you’ll have extra good fudge. You might even be able to open your own sweet shop one day, who knows?
Firstly, decide on a good flavour for your fudge. Of course you can stick with vanilla, or in other words Old Faithful, as it’s popular with pretty much everyone on the planet. But use good vanilla extract or vanilla beans themselves – “vanilla flavouring” just doesn’t cut it, even though you can get away with it in cakes and biscuits. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can add things like coffee, mint, honey, and last but not least – chocolate. The fantastic thing about chocolate is that when it sets, it sets hard, so it helps the fudge to set well too. So make sure you stir it in properly, otherwise you’ll end up with gooey caramel in some places and hard chocolate. This happened to me once and people said it looked like fatty pulled pork. I’m vegetarian, so this didn’t go down too well. However, the fudge itself did – even though it looked a bit weird, it was still tasty. We used Cadbury’s Crunchie chocolate that time, and the honeycomb gave it a really nice texture and sweetness.
Secondly, patience is everything. Your fudge may need hours to set in the fridge, so it’s best to do it overnight. If you take it out too early, it will be misshapen and it won’t set completely. Wait for the amount of time your recipe states, and if that seems like it hasn’t set, just hang on. It is very much worth the wait.
Lastly, remember not to hurt yourself! Making fudge is a bit more risky than ordinary baking, because hot sugar can spit and burn your skin. Get an adult to help you for this bit, but you can boss them around and get them to make it how you like. I’ll warn you, though – once you’ve made your own, it’s hard to go back to the stuff they have at Pick ‘n’ mix. Soon, you’ll only be able to eat fudge made by professionals, or by your own fair hand of course!
Image (and cookery!) credit: Alice Barnes-Brown