Easy-peasy Fudge

I love making fudge – but it seems like everyone else has got a story about how they tried to do it and it went horribly wrong or was terribly complicated. So give this little recipe a whirl and I promise, soon you’ll be making it far too often.

450g soft brown sugar
125g butter
A 400g can of condensed milk
A little splash of vanilla essence

Makes about 50 small pieces.

I have to confess, the key to making fudge is really the equipment, rather than the recipe – to make it really easy, you have to invest in a cooking thermometer. This is the one I’ve got – it’s £5.95 on Amazon, which equates to about two very small bags of fudge from a fancy shop, so it’ll pay for itself in no time. You’ll also find it very handy if you fancy making jam or marmalade.

Before you start, grease a square brownie tin and line it with greaseproof paper. Weigh out the sugar and pop it into a non-stick saucepan, then slice the butter into chunks (so it’ll melt faster) and add that. Finally, open the can of condensed milk and make sure to scrape it all into the pan (it’s devilishly sticky stuff, and it doesn’t pour very well).
Turn the heat on but keep it fairly low, and continuously stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. Once all the ingredients have melted together into a smooth paste, turn the hob up to a medium heat and start taking the temperature of the mixture every minute or so. You need to keep stirring the mixture even while the thermometer is in there, so that it doesn’t burn – if it catches at all, the whole batch will taste burnt. As soon as it gets to 115˚C, whip it off the heat and let it cool for a moment, still stirring, before you add the vanilla essence (there will probably be a hiss and a splutter, which is fine). 

Finally, pour it into the prepared tin – don’t worry too much about spreading it out, unless it’s really not moving, otherwise you’ll end up making lumps and crystals in the finished mixture. Leave it to cool and solidify for a good few hours, or overnight. Then lift the solid slab out of the tin, peel off the greaseproof paper, and slice it up with a long knife. If you’ve only left it for an hour or two, you’ll be able to cut it into neat cubes, but if you’ve left it overnight, it’ll fracture into rough pieces as you cut along the slab – so which you prefer is up to your own artistic sensibilities.