Easy-peasy peppermint fudge

If you want a break from rolling cut-out cookies and baking during the holiday time, make some fudge!  And make the simple version that takes about ten minutes to put together...hence, the "easy-peasy" moniker.  Last year, I made a batch of cinnamon-chocolate fudge with a sprinkling of salt on top.  This year, I tried this peppermint fudge, which I liked better and has a more festive feel to it.
This is the kind of fudge recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk so there's no need for the candy thermometer.  There is a bit of stirring involved but it doesn't get much more complicated than that.  For flavoring, I added about half a teaspoon of peppermint extract and as a finishing touch, sprinkled shards of broken candy cane pieces over the top.  My only complaint about adding toppings like this on to fudge is they tend to melt once you take it out of the refrigerator but it's the holidays so the tops seem to need a little decor.  The fudge is super smooth and quite tasty.  Keep it in the refrigerator, freeze it, or share it with a friend. 

To make this fudge, you need almost 2 2/3 cups of chocolate chips.  You can use semi-sweet or bittersweet, or a combination of both.  In this case, I used a cup of semi-sweet and bittersweet for the rest.  You also need 3 tablespoons of butter, a can of sweetened condensed milk, a little vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and a dash of salt.
For the topping, take one candy cane and mash it up into crumbs.  I put it into a plastic bag and tap it with a meat mallet (you can use the can of condensed milk).
Pour the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter, and a pinch of salt into a glass bowl.  I also threw in about a 1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso powder but this is optional (helps bring out the chocolate flavor).
Put the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water.  Stir together and let the chocolate chips melt and everything get smoothly incorporated.
This takes about 6 to 8 minutes.  When it's just about done, I add the pure vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir thoroughly.  The mixture will be very thick and glossy.  Transfer the fudge into an 8-inch square pan that's been greased and lined with a piece of parchment paper.
Use your rubber spatula to tease the fudge into the corners and smooth the top.  Sprinkle the crushed candy cane pieces over the top.  Refrigerate the fudge for at least an hour or two until it's firm enough to turn out and slice.
Since the texture is so important when it comes to fudge, I was happy it came out smooth and silky.  The hint of peppermint flavor is nice.
Store the fudge in the refrigerator between layers of wax paper.  You could also freeze it wrapped in wax paper and aluminum foil.  I'm giving freezing a try this year; as I make treats this month, I'm freezing a few of this and that to enjoy on Christmas morning. 

Recipe:

Easy-Peasy Peppermint Fudge
Adapted/loosely based on this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

- Makes one 8-inch square pan of fudge you can cut to desired size and pieces -

Butter, room temperature, for greasing the pan
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 pound (2 2/3 cups) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (or a combination)
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature, and cut into several pieces
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 candy cane, crushed into small pieces for topping

Butter the bottom and all sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.  Line the pan with a piece of parchment, leaving about 2 inches of overhang on 2 sides.  This will make the fudge easy to remove from the pan.

Place the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter, espresso powder (if using) and a pinch of salt into a glass bowl.  Put the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and mix until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.  This takes about 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir until combined.  The mixture will be thick and glossy. 

Remove bowl from the saucepan of water and carefully (bowl is hot) pour the fudge into the prepared pan.  Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the fudge to the edges and smooth the top.  Sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces all over the top.  Refrigerate the fudge for about 2 hours or until firm enough to cut.

Use a warm knife (run under hot water and dry) around the edges of the pan.  Remove the fudge from the pan by lifting the parchment overhang.  Place on to a cutting board, peel off the parchment, and cut fudge to desired size and shape (such as square or rectangle pieces, or triangles).

Storage:  Keep fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator, with a piece of wax paper between layers to prevent sticking.  You can also freeze fudge for a few months by wrapping them in wax paper and aluminum foil and placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag.  Allow fudge to come to room temperature, still in the container, before serving.


1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete

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