Making traditional fudge involves the use of a candy thermometer and being very precise. I'm no good at that, so screw it. The following recipe is very easy and forgiving, with no time pressure. It may be considered a cheat, but it is delicious, and I'm not sure I could tell it apart from "proper" fudge.
This is by no means health food, but it's also not the worst thing you could eat. I have increased the original amounts of cherries and walnuts so that they make up about half the volume, with just enough chocolate to stick them together. Change this to your liking, of course, keeping in mind that dried cherries are intense. As written, this recipe packs a serious punch of tart-sweet flavor.
- 12 oz (340g) semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok, if they're real)
- 0.5 cup (6 oz / 160 g) light corn syrup (dark will work in a pinch)
- 0.5 cup (2.2 oz / 60g) confectioners’ sugar
- 0.25 cup (2.25 oz / 63g) evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- ~1 cup (5.5 oz / 160g) dried cherries, chopped if they seem huge
- ~1 cup (4.5 oz / 125g) walnuts, toasted then chopped
Line an 8-inch square pan (or other; see note below) with foil, long enough to come up the sides and stick up (it's to help lift the fudge out). Grease with cooking spray or butter.
In a saucepan, stir chocolate and corn syrup over low heat until melted. Remove from heat.
Stir in sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt, then beat for about five minutes with a wooden spoon until thickened and glossy. Taste it, and add more salt and/or vanilla if needed.
Stir in cherries and walnuts, then spread in pan. If you're including quite a bit of these, it will get difficult to stir, and may be easier to sort of half-assedly combine them, then just press everything into the pan together.
Refrigerate until firm.
You almost always have to sift powdered sugar, but can probably skip it here (I do).
Evaporated milk is not interchangeable with sweetened condensed milk.
This recipe fits perfectly in an 8-inch square pan, but absolutely any container will work. A pie pan, two loaf pans, whatever. Just be mindful of how thick the layer of fudge is, within that container. More than an inch thick or so, it will become really difficult to cut.
Always toast nuts
The purpose of the foil is to help lift the fudge out of the pan, after it's cooled. If you don't care much about this, skip it. Greasing the pan with cooking spray or butter will help a lot when removing pieces of fudge, even if you plan to cut it in the pan.
If you're including a hell of a lot of cherries and walnuts, you're going to end up with a very chunky substance that may be a little hard to press evenly into the pan, and impossible to make smooth. I don't care about this, but if you really want a smooth top surface, just reserve a bit of plain fudge to spread on top of the chunky business as a last step. A knife or spatula dipped in hot water can also help even out the top.
I like this particular combination of fruit and nut so much that I haven't experimented with anything else. But there are endless possibilities here. Any dried fruits and/or nuts which you enjoy in combination with dark chocolate, I'm sure would work great.
As always, if you try this, please let me know.
Original recipe here.