What better pocket-sized British treat is there than a chunk of soft, sweet fudge?
Even if it doesn't set at first, it’s still delicious!
While many of us are partial to picking up a pack to eat on the pebbles during a classic British staycation, how many of us have tried our hand at actually making it?
“Fudge has a reputation for being hard to make,” says Rachel Powell, the artisan fudge maker behind the sticky-sweet fudge brand Slab.
When Rachel and her husband, Steve first started making fudge to try and help boost winter sales at their ice cream shop on the Isle of Wight, Rachel tested dozens and dozens of recipes before she found her perfect match. As a result, she’s learnt every trick in the book when it comes to ducking hot spatters and dodging crystallisation.
Since then, Rachel’s fudge has boomed in popularity with fans across the nation thanks to their postal delivery service and foodie market stalls. But no matter how big the business grows, Rachel swears that she’ll keep making all of Slab's fudge entirely by hand – because that's how she likes it best.
“I've learnt a lot and made many mistakes at the beginning, but it just goes to show that anyone can successfully make fudge with a bit of practice! It’s a lot of fun to make and everyone should give it a go; even if it sets like concrete or ends up as a sauce to top your ice cream with, it’s still delicious!”
To help you master the sweet treat without "fudging it," check out Rachel’s handy breakdown of how to make expert fudge at home, including some tempting flavour combinations and cheat’s hacks.
Like all baking, making fudge is a science
“Making fudge is scientific - it's all about melting together your butter, cream and sugar (general consensus is 1 part butter to 7 parts each sugar and cream) and bringing it to the boil to evaporate off exactly enough water in order to let it set.
"Once it’s boiling, turn down the heat and pop in a sugar thermometer - the temperature of the fudge will continue to rise in the pan.
"Once it hits 160C, turn the heat off and stir and stir and stir. It's important to give it your full attention at this point; if you leave it, it will crystallise and lose its creaminess. Stir and stir for about 10 minutes until it’s thickened, then pour into baking paper-lined tins."
Fudge is a needy beast
“Keep your eye on it. Whatever you do, don’t leave the room. Stay near your fudge and keep it moving. Some recipes say don’t touch it and some say move is constantly. Personally, I like to keep it moving. This helps to avoid any sugar catching on the bottom and burning - which is a disaster, I should know! You want it just simmering along gently with a little movement to keep it happy.”
“Adding melted chocolate as the fudge cools is a brilliant cheat’s way of helping it set. Trickle the chocolate in slowly, stirring all the time. It will add a lovely silky texture too. This works with white, milk or dark chocolate, depending on what flavour you’re going for.”
“Have fun with it. Try some imaginative recipes. In our kitchen, we’re always trying new things – some work, some don’t. It’s part of the fun.
“We do a lemon meringue pie fudge which is super popular and easy to create at home. Use white chocolate to help it set, then, as it cools, add some lemon essence. Once it’s in the tray ready to firm up, crumble over some meringue. It’s gorgeous.
“Or, have a go at making our s’mores fudge: Stir milk or dark chocolate into the fudge as it cools (again, this is great for beginners as it will help it set) then when it gets cooler, stir through some mini-marshmallows and crumbled digestives. Heaven!”
“Some of our other most popular flavours are sea-salted caramel and “tigernut”, which is made up of ripples of peanut butter fudge and chocolate fudge. There’s so much you can do. Get creative and come up with some fudge versions of your favourite flavour combinations.”
how else can you eat it
“We have people use our fudge in place of a cheeseboard after dinner. Pop some different flavours on a wooden board with some berries and biscuits for a cool twist on classic after-dinner nibbles.
“Lots of our customers also enjoy baking with our fudge - one regular customer stirs chunks into a brownie mix for a chocolatey treat with a saucy middle. Give it a try at home!”