I have a weird history with fudge.
I used to hate it. Detest it. In all its forms.
Sounds insane, right? Who can hate a little square of smooth chocolate splattered with nuts? Well, I did. It was the texture and the overall sweetness that freaked me out. One bite of fudge and I was on a sugar high for hours.
Now, I’ve learned to appreciate fudge. In moderation and only annually, like at Christmas when sweets are the norm, not the exception.
Technically, fudge is considered candy and I am not an expert candy-maker. However, I think fudge is the easiest to make. In fact, the only piece of equipment you need to make fudge is a candy thermometer. Mix evaporated milk with sugar, raise to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, stir like CRAZY, then pour over chopped chocolate and butter.
I like to wrap up small boxes and give these fudge pieces to friends during the holiday because they are great as a late night snack but, ultimately to render them into a sugar-like coma. I’m evil like that.
Bittersweet Chocolate & Walnut Fudge
Adapted from: Bon Appetit
Yields: 35 pieces
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3 cups sugar
1 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, toasted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving overhang. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl.
Stir sugar and evaporated milk in heavy large deep saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Boil until temperature registers 234°F, stirring constantly and adjusting heat to avoid boiling over, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour milk mixture over chocolate mixture. Whisk until chocolate and butter melt and fudge is smooth. Mix in nuts and vanilla.
Spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Refrigerate uncovered until cold and set, about 3 hours. Using foil as aid, lift fudge from pan.
Cut crosswise into 7 strips, then lengthwise into 5 strips. Return to pan, cover, and chill. Fudge can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.