Regular readers may have noticed that I do love to make no-churn ice cream recipes. These recipes are great but, unless I make a double batch,they do always leave me with half a tin of condensed milk languishing in the back of my (cavernous American-style) fridge. This is quite a good solution to the ‘problem’.
Fudge making is somewhat of a Christmas tradition with my friends back home, every year we make a huge batch to give to our families. I have to confess that it’s not always that successful. It frequently ends up like grainy Scottish tablet rather creamy fudge. I think that this is partly because we try to make such big quantities in one go (never advisable) and partly because it’s also traditional for us to drink mulled wine whilst we make it which results in rather half-hearted beating.
This is definitely the creamiest fudge I’ve ever produced. I think that like adding lime juice to Key lime pie fillings, the vinegar helps to thicken the fudge mixture. Mr Colonial Cravings favourite Hotel Chocolat chocolates are the balsamic caramels so I know that this will have at least one fan.
You can, of course, just use milk in the mixture but I like to add a touch of cream – you can take the girl out of the West Country but you can’t take the West Country out of the girl…
Cuts into 12 big pieces
200g condensed milk
125g soft brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
Combine everything but the vanilla and the balsamic vinegar in a sizeable pan and melt it together over a low heat. Stir it constantly to make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
Increase the heat a little and bring the mixture to boiling point. Continue to stir it (carefully, you don’t want to splash hot molten fudge on yourself!) to stop the mixture catching on the bottom of the pan and burning. Let the mixture bubble for about 10 minutes, it should darken a little and have reached ‘soft ball’ stage when it’s done. You can check for ‘soft ball’ using a sugar thermometer or by dropping a little of the mixture into some ice-water. It should form, you guessed it, a soft ball.
Remove the pan from the heat, ideally put it on a cool, heat proof surface and start to beat the life out of the fudge. I have granite counter tops which are usually quite cool so I put the pan on them and find that it does speed up this process a little. After about a minutes beating add in the vanilla and then the vinegar.
As you beat, the fudge the mixture should cool and thicken, it’ll be ready about five minutes after you think that you can’t possible beat it for any longer. Sorry, I promise it’ll be worth it.
Pour the thickened and cooled mixture into an appropriately sized (depending on how thick you want it to be) tin or dish, lined with parchment, and spread it out into a thick layer. Leave the fudge to set and become completely firm before cutting into squares and removing from the tin.