Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Maple Pecan Fudge

I'm not feeling a long winded wind up to this recipe so I'll just get right to it. I love fudge. I love heading up to Apple Hill in the fall and getting a lovely sampler box of fudge. I love all the variety and flavors, Cappuccino, Cheesecake and Cherry Chocolate being among my favorites. But really, with fudge, what wouldn't be a good flavor? I like 'em all and for some time now I've been looking for a good, creamy, homemade fudge recipe that does NOT use marshmallow cream. Don't get me wrong, I like the "Fantasy Fudge" recipe from the back of the marshmallow cream jar but somehow, using the marshmallow cream feels a bit like cheating. Don't know why. No judgement here, I've used that recipe several times and welcome with open arms any gifts of Fantasy Fudge. I just kind of wanted to go deeper into fudge making. Making it the old fashioned way. So I came across the collection of fudge recipes at Thibeault's Table and as I just so happened to come in to a large jar of real maple syrup, I thought I'd try the Maple Cream Fudge recipe. Check it out. . .

The players: granulated sugar, brown sugar*, heavy cream, butter, maple syrup (the real stuff), vanilla and salt.
* I accidentally grabbed dark brown sugar and the recipe worked but next time I'll use light brown sugar. Just an FYI.

You also want about 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. I used pecans, of course but walnuts are more traditional with maple fudge. Use what you like.

Once you start cooking the fudge, everything starts to happen pretty quickly. It's a good idea to have everything ready to go before you start. Nuts chopped and measured, vanilla measured and pan buttered. I used a 7-3/4 inch square disposable foil pan. Use a smaller, loaf pan, if you like thicker fudge. (see the comments section from the original recipe linked below.)

Put the sugars, cream, butter, maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a medium to large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring gently but constantly.

Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring gently, until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage. You can use a candy thermometer and cook to 235°F or, after about 5-7 minutes, drop a small bit into cold water, the mixture should form a soft pliable ball.

When it reaches the softball stage, remove from heat and add a teaspoon of vanilla and stir in gently. From here there are two ways you can go:
1.) Start gently stirring the fudge and as it starts to cool and thicken beat a little more vigorously. Fudge will cool, thicken and loose it's glossy sheen. Quickly stir in the pecans and then pour into a greased pan. This is the way I did it and it took about 15 minutes or so. My fudge was a bit grainy because I think I over beat it and cooked it a little too long. The mixture got up to 240°F because I wasn't paying attention. If you are an experienced fudge maker, this method will probably work for you. Next time I'll try the following:
2.) After stirring the vanilla in, let the fudge sit and cool for about 10 minutes before you start beating it. It will reduce the beating time and hopefully prevent some of the grainy texture.

The fudge is ready to pour into the pan when it gets very stiff and looses it's gloss. You then have to work quickly to get it into the pan before it firms up too much. It really just takes practice and experience. I promise all the trial and error will be worth it.

Allow it to cool completely in the pan and then cut into squares and enjoy. Store the fudge in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. That is, if there's any left. 

This is sweet, but of course, it's fudge. It has good maple flavor and I really like the the combination of maple and pecans. This is a good recipe, I'd give it a 10. I'd give my execution about an 8. Good flavor but I don't think I got the texture quite right. I don't think it's the recipe, I just need a bit of practice making fudge, it's really more art than science. I'll give it a go again for sure and I can't wait to try the other fudge recipes from the same web site. Here's the link again:  Maple Cream Fudge.

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