Tuesday, December 08, 2009
BAKE BAKE BAKE
This year I decided I love baking. I like all things to do with food really. I don't even mind grocery shopping. But baking is my true love. I love how baking incorporates science and art - how you can take a recipe and work out the science part of it (ie what is really required in terms of setting and texture and cooking) and then throw in the creative side where you can play with the flavour combinations.
Over the past few weeks I've done an awful lot of baking. DH's work decided to bake for their clients. No mean task as they have a lot of clients. My contribution was 100 cellphane bags filled with yummies (75 bags of biscotti, peanut cookies, ginger cookies, spicy star biscuits). I've also managed to make (for family and friends) belgium biscuits, Christmas mince pies (and lemon curd pies for those who don't fancy the mince stuff)and my first ever Christmas cake (which is huge and will mostly be chopped into big giveaway slabs since I am the only person in our household who likes dried fruit).
Of course the best part of baking is in the eating and one thing I have had to learn is to not eat quite so much! I failed yesterday. It was my friend Zeetra's fault. She gave me the most amazing fudge recipe. It worked to perfection and tastes unlike any homemade fudge you've ever tried. It was expensive to make but it made heaps - over 100 pieces. After gorging myself I decided to pop it all in cellophane bags. Partly to protect myself from eating more but mostly so it was ready to give away. Here's the's recipe. It makes a really smooth and creamy fudge that is easy to cut and doesn't crumble:
DECADENT CHOCOLATE FUDGE
2 x 400g cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cups firmly packed soft brown sugar
250 g butter
100 ml liquid glucose syrup (most supermarkets stock this now)
3 tablespoons golden syrup
400 g white (or milk or dark ) chocolate, chopped (I used a bag of Nestle Melts which are only 375gm)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Spray and line with non stick baking paper, a 20 x 30 cm, quite deep (at least 4 cm) tin. I used a 20x20cm tin - I could have used 2 tins)
Place all ingredients, except the chocolate and vanilla, in a large heavy based saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil gently until it becomes very thick and changes colour to a dark caramel brown paper shade - about 6 minutes, to the soft ball stage, 116 degrees on a sugar thermometer. Stir often to prevent catching on the bottom - I find a silicone spatula or wooden spoon (that hasn't been used for anything except baking) the best gadget to stir with. Remove from heat and stand until the bubbles subside. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla until melted and smooth.
Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Cool to room temperature (about 3 hours) then refrigerate until firm. Tip whole slab out of tin. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 weeks - if you're lucky.
Thanks, Zeetra, I think!