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Simple Chocolate Fudge Recipe & Video 

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If you find the old fashioned method of making fudge daunting, you will love this rich and creamy Simple Chocolate Fudge recipe. It side steps the boiling of sugar syrup and instead, all you need to do is melt chocolate with a little butter and sweetened condensed milk. Finish it off by stirring in some vanilla extract and chopped nuts and you are done. I often like to use more than one type of nut, my favorites being hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios. But peanuts, walnuts, and almonds are also very nice, or you could even fold in some dried fruit.

 

As I mentioned above, this Simple Chocolate Fudge does not involve making a sugar syrup. This is possible by using sweetened condensed milk which is actually a ready made concentrated sugar syrup. It is made from a mixture of whole milk and sugar that has about 60 percent of its water removed. Its consistency is thick and sticky (like honey) and it is very sweet tasting. To give you a small bit of history, condensed milk was the result of Gail Borden's (1801-1874) determination to invent a milk that could be stored and distributed over long distances. At the time of its invention (1856) milk was not pasteurized so it was difficult to keep fresh and free of germs. After Borden received a patent on his invention he starting producing condensed milk, but it wasn't until it became standard issue for the troops during the Civil War that it really gained popularity

For a little trivia, fudge making seems to have started with young American women on college campuses in the 1890s. There are many theories as to why it was called 'fudge'. Andrew F. Smith in "The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink" suggests the name "refers to an expression young women might have used instead of swearing".

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To Toast Nuts: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). If using hazelnuts, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 to 14 minutes or until the nuts are lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Then chop coarsely.

If using pecans, walnuts, or almonds, toast the nuts for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Cool and then chop coarsely.

Chocolate Fudge: First line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square baking pan (20 cm) with foil or parchment paper. Butter the foil or spray with a non stick vegetable spray.

Combine the sweetened condensed milk, chopped chocolate, and butter in a heatproof bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate mixture, stirring frequently, making sure the mixture doesn't get too hot or the fudge may be grainy. Stir until smooth (it will be very thick). Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract and chopped nuts. Spread the fudge into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

Let stand at room temperature until cool and firm (this can take several hours). Then carefully remove the fudge from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. With a long, sharp knife cut the fudge into one inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for several days or freeze, well wrapped, for several months. Let thaw at room temperature, unwrapped, for a few hours before serving.

Makes 64 - one inch (2.5 cm) pieces of chocolate fudge. Preparation time 45 minutes.

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Simple Chocolate Fudge:

1 1/2 cups (175 grams) chopped nuts (raw and peeled hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and/or almonds)

1-14 ounce can (396 grams) sweetened condensed milk

1 pound (450 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons (25 grams) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract (optional)

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