I've been trying to bring you this fudge for a long time. I would have given it to you sooner, but I hit a few bumps along the way.
I saw it originally on Tracey's blog, and knew immediately that I had to make it. I can't even tell you how many years its been since I ate a piece of fudge, and it looked so creamy and heavenly I got right to it.
The first time I made it, it didn't exactly work. It cooked too long, and turned into a strange - though delicious - sort of caramel. I later discovered that my thermometer was off by a none-too-insignificant 6 degrees. Sigh.
The next time I made it, I went solely by the times for each stage of the recipe and ignored the temperature altogether. This time it was perfect. I bagged it up and gave it out for Christmas gifts, thinking I'd have a chance to photograph it before it was gone. Boy oh boy was I wrong! Who knew I was among voracious fudge-eaters, and that it would last less than 6 hours in their hands! Should it have really surprised me, though, given the great chocoholism that runs in my family? Not to mention, we were in the middle of an ice storm and had no power or water, so I had things other than photos on my mind.
Then, I made it again. I had to post it! This time, I went by temperature - I had a new thermometer - and again, it cooked too long. I threw it out.
The next time I made this fudge - oh yes, there was a next time - it tasted fantastic and it was definitely fudge, but it wasn't as beautiful as the perfect batch. I photographed it, but knowing it could be better I just couldn't bring myself to post it.
Now we come to this week when I made it for the fifth time.
I decided to ignore the temperature, as it seemed like in all my experience with this recipe it isn't as important as the length of time the mixture actually cooks for. This time, it was perfect again! Ahhhhh. This fudge is heaven. It is so smooth and creamy, without a trace of grit that is so frequently present in the store-bought variety. It is rich and chocolate-y with a hint of salt. This is some serious fudge. I think you're gonna like it.
Creamy Chocolate Fudge
adapted very liberally from Fine Cooking via Tracey's Culinary Adventures
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons agave (or light corn syrup)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Line an 8"x8" pan with parchment. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chocolate, sugar, heavy cream, agave and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring all the time. This should take 7-12 minutes - I find it takes around 10. Once boiling, cover pot and let cook for 2 minutes uninterrupted. Then remove the lid and cook for another 4 minutes without stirring. (The original recipe calls for a temperature of 236, but the last time I made it, it only reached 228 on an accurate thermometer and it was perfect). Remove from heat, add the butter without stirring and let it stand until it is 100 degrees, about an hour. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high for 20 minutes. Then let it rest for about 10 minutes. Beat again on high for 5 minutes, and let rest for 5 minutes. Continue in this way until you can make a wave in the mixture (with your fingers, spoon, etc...) and it doesn't immediately melt back into itself. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth the top or make swirls in it. Let it stand several hours or overnight in the pan, uncovered. Remove parchment, place on cutting board and cut into squares. The fudge will be quite soft at this point. Separate squares and let them sit uncovered for several hours, until they firm up.
*I believe the problem with the batch of fudge that wasn't attractive enough was that I didn't beat it long enough. The top of it wouldn't hold a swirl, and the surface had lots of tiny bubbles. To be sure you've beaten it log enough, take a small dab of the warm fudge out of the mixer and place it on a plate, spoon, anything. Make a swirl in it with your finger. Come back a few minutes later, and if the swirl has remained and the fudge has hardened as it cooled, it is done. If not, keep beating.