Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2011 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Variations: Almond Fantasy Fudge; Chocolate Mint Fantasy Fudge; Cookies and Cream Fantasy Fudge; Double Layer Fantasy Fudge; Dreamsicle Fantasy Fudge; Maple Walnut Fantasy Fudge; Mocha Fantasy Fudge; Peanut Butter Fantasy Fudge; Rum Raisin Fantasy Fudge; "Truffles"
I rewrote the entire original Fantasy Fudge Recipe from Kraft Foods - including the ingredient amounts - and posted it, here. I noticed there were a lot of errors with the original one from Kraft, causing others to have so much trouble with it and perhaps trouble with other fudge recipes. Certain candymaking procedures are best followed to prevent crystallization and other typical issues happening with any candy recipe. Many years ago, I also wrote and posted a Creamy Chocolate Fudge Recipe including proper candymaking techniques and storage steps, which I have incorporated here. This recipe makes great Christmas gifts to give to neighbors alone or on a holiday plate with other goodies.
CANDY RECIPE HELP
About Candy Thermometers: The "dial" type of Candy Thermometers are notoriously inaccurate. I recommend the Candy thermometer that looks like a thermometer. Mine is mounted on a metal frame and made by Taylor, and it works very well for this. SARAH SAYS: Verify the accuracy of the thermometer in water that has boiled for three minutes. It should read 212 degrees F at sea level. If not, get a new thermometer.
12-ounce (2 cups) package of semi-sweet chocolate chips; preferably Nestle's or Hershey's
7-ounce jar marshmallow creme or 2 cups mini-marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounce can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk; do not substitute with condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup chopped, toasted nuts
Stir with a wooden spoon prepared by spraying with a non-stick vegetable spray
1. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Butter the foil inside the pan. With a paper towel, remove all but a light film. Set aside.
SARAH SAYS: I recommend a glass or aluminum pan, but not an "insulated one. This causes the fudge to cool too slow, ie: still warm after an hour. This could result in a softer fudge.
2. Place the chocolate chips in a 3-quart heat-proof bowl. Make a well in the center. Add in the Marshmallow creme into the well and add the vanilla extract. Do not stir. Set aside.
Prepare the evaporated milk, salt and sugar mixture:
3. Pour the evaporated milk and place the salt in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Do not stir.
Slowly pour the sugar dead-center in the middle of the milk mixture. Make sure you don't splatter sugar on the side of the pan.
SARAH SAYS: Always pour the ingredients in the center of the pan avoiding the sides. You want to keep the side of the pan clean, especially when boiling the sugar solution, beginning with Step #5A. You don't want the sugar crystals to start hardening and forming on the side of the pan.
I add the liquid ingredients first and then the sugar; the opposite of what most candy makers suggest. The traditional way leaves some sugar dry spots in the bottom of the pan causing them to burn even though traditional instructions have you draw an "x" in the sugar to moisten it slightly or to stir the two together. Stirring often causes sugar grains to cling to the inside of the pan. If they aren't washed off with a moistened pastry brush before boiling, the loose grains will cause the syrup to crystallize. My way is more convenient. That is, if done carefully (i.e., adding the liquid first followed by sugar), you can skip the initial wiping with the pastry brush.
4. Place pot over low to medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring with a WOODEN spoon constantly.
SARAH SAYS: If you are using a gas range, take care that the flames do not rise up the sides of the pot, which would cause the mixture to burn.
If the sugar mounds, gently push down on the mound with a spoon so that all the sugar is moistened.
5. Heat until very hot and steams rises from the pot. Remove the mixture from the heat. DO NOT DIP YOUR FINGER DIRECTLY INTO THE HOT MILK MIXTURE!
6. Cover the pot tightly and allow it to sit undisturbed for 1/2-hour without turning on the stove. This step ensures that the sugar crystals are completely dissolved.
7. Feel the milk mixture between your fingertips. If the mixture feels gritty, the sugar is not completely dissolved. If it is gritty, reheat the mixture until just warmed and remove from the heat, cover tightly and allow to sit undisturbed for another 15 to 20 minutes longer.
Boil the evaporated milk mixture:
1. Using a heat proof pastry brush dipped in clean water, wipe the inside walls of the pot above the surface of the syrup. Dip the brush in water every time before washing the side of the pan! This step removes crystals that may have accumulated on the inside of the pot. If allowed to remain, these crystals would cause the fudge to become grainy.
5. Place or clamp on the CANDY THERMOMETER at the side of the pot. It must be dry and clean when putting into the candy pot.
SARAH SAYS: Always stoop down to read the Candy Thermometer at eye level.
6. Turn on the burner to medium-high heat and slowly bring the mixture to a boil WITHOUT stirring. Then lower the temperature to about Medium to sustain a rolling boil. Do NOT stir. Boil for 5 - 8 minutes OR until the candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F or the Soft Ball Stage. The color of the mixture will change from white/tan to a more dark tan color.
NOTES: For high altitude boiling reduce the 234 degrees F by 2 degrees F for each 1,000 feet above sea level. Boil using the same parameters.
During boiling, occasionally use a pastry brush dipped in clean water to wipe the inside walls of the pot above the surface of the chocolate mixture. Dip the brush in water every time before washing the side of the pan! This step removes crystals that may have accumulated on the inside of the pot. If allowed to remain, these crystals would cause the fudge to become grainy.
SARAH SAYS: Stopping the boil at 234 degrees F really means 234 degrees F. Fudge will sometimes crystallize if it boils above 238 - 240 degrees F. If it goes too high WITHOUT crystallizing, remove the fudge from the stove. Add 1 tablespoons of whole milk or water while standing back to avoid the steam, stir, then place back on the stove. The Boiling Point should fall about 2-4 points. Reheat to 234 degrees F.
Finish the fudge:
1. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter** with a CLEAN wooden spoon until dissolved, taking not more than 30 seconds.
**NOTE: Adding the butter with the sugar and milk at the beginning, called for in typical Fantasy Fudge Recipes, will result in poorly dissolved sugar which crystallized prematurely resulting in fudge with a grainy texture.
2. Immediately pour the boiled mixture directly over chocolate chips, marshmallow creme and vanilla extract placed in a separate bowl.
Do not scrape the bottom of the saucepan as this will transfer chunks of sugar to your new bowl. Stir the mixture with a CLEAN wooden spoon until well combined and the chocolate is melted.
3. Add the walnuts and mix well.
4. Pour into a prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Push the fudge into the corners of the pan. If necessary, butter your hands lightly and press the fudge out to make an even layer in the pan.
5. Rest the fudge at room temperature for an hour or more to allow it to set. Do not refrigerate. Cold fudge gets too firm with a gummy texture! Room temperature is best!
6. Remove the fudge (with the foil) from the pan, and gently peel off the foil. Cut into 1-inch squares.
SARAH SAYS: Use a bench scraper or a large, very sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife to cut the fudge into pieces; it will be necessary to run the bench scraper or knife blade under hot, then cold, water, then dry it off, frequently, to keep the cuts neat. With a bench scraper, to cut, all you have to do is push down and it makes a nice even cut. It is a handy tool for the kitchen.
Store fudge in a cool, dark, dry place in an airtight container (tin or plastic), between layers of waxed paper or individually wrapped for about 1 to 2 weeks. Fudge stored in an air tight container at room temperature will "ripen" over the first 24 hours. That is, the texture will become creamier and more velvety.
Fudge stored in the refrigerator can last 2-3 weeks when kept in an airtight container.
Fudge left out in the open will last a couple of hours depending upon the foot traffic in the area.
It can also be frozen quite successfully for long term storage, about 3 to 6 months. Just be sure to wrap well in waxed paper, then foil, and placed in an airtight container so it doesn't absorb flavors from the freezer. Thaw fudge in its wrappers and storage container at room temperature. It will take about a day to thaw.
NOTE: To prepare the fudge in the microwave, place butter in 4-qt. microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 min. or until melted. Add sugar and milk; mix well. Microwave 5 min. or until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 min. Stir well, scraping down side of bowl. Microwave 5-1/2 min., stirring after 3 min. Let stand 2 min. Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; continue as directed.
Almond Fantasy Fudge: Add in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract; substitute chopped almonds for the walnuts.
Chocolate Mint Fantasy Fudge: Reduce the vanilla extract the 1 teaspoon and add in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (it's very strong); substitute 1/4 - 1/2 cup crushed candy canes for the nuts (optional).
Cookies and Cream Fantasy Fudge: Substitute white chocolate chips for the chocolate chips; substitute crushed Oreos® for the nuts
Double Layer Fantasy Fudge: example: chocolate fudge with a peanut butter fudge layer on top. Over the top drizzle melted chocolate chips.
Dreamsicle Fantasy Fudge: Substitute white chocolate chips for the chocolate chips; reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon and add in 1 teaspoon orange extract; omit the nuts; pour half the prepared fudge into the pan, then stir in 2 drops yellow food coloring and 1 drop red food coloring (or more) into the remaining fudge; pour the orange fudge over the plain fudge and gently marble in with a butter knife.
Maple Walnut Fantasy Fudge: Substitute the dark chocolate chips with white chocolate chips; add in 1/2 teaspoon maple extract and use walnuts for nuts.
Mocha Fantasy Fudge: Stir 1/4 cup instant espresso powder with the butter into the evaporated milk, Finish the Fudge, Step 1.
Peanut Butter Fantasy Fudge: Substitute peanut butter chips for the chocolate chips; omit the nuts. Or, use one cup of chunky peanut butter in place of the chocolate chips. Decrease the butter by 1/4 cup and omit the nuts..
Rum Raisin Fantasy Fudge: Substitute the dark chocolate chips with white chocolate chips; use 1 teaspoon vanilla, add 1 teaspoon (or adjust to taste) rum extract, plus 1 cup raisins (omit nuts)
"Truffles": Chill, roll into balls, and dip in melted white chocolate. Sprinkle tops with green and red Christmas "sprinkles".