Tag Archives: fudge

Duck Fat Brioche, Oreo Fudge and Chicken Livers

Work is slow in January, after the return from the Christmas break, and as teachers gear up for the last few weeks before the end of the fall semester. So, when I was at home on the first day back, I decided to make another batch of the duck fat brioche dough that I’ve posted already. In the meantime, I’ve eaten several of the rolls I made and assembled sandwiches from the rest, which are all wrapped up and in the freezer. So, I need bread.

I decided to post the brioche recipe to make it more convenient for anyone who wants to give it a try and doesn’t want to have to deal with eliminating the sourdough starter from the recipe.

You can shape the dough in various ways, as seen in the previous post. I made 9 inch long hoagies and rolls using a couple of different braiding techniques, this time.

One strand braids, Easter wreaths and a mini hoagie

Duck Fat Brioche Dough – makes ~ 1 kg/2.2 lb dough, enough for about 16 buns or rolls

1 cup warm milk (or 1 cup water and 1 tbsp milk powder)
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/4-4 1/2 all purpose flour (or a combination of all purpose, bread and semolina flour), divided
1/4 cup melted duck fat (or bacon fat or butter, if you can’t get the duck fat )
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg and 1 tbsp water, for egg wash

Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk, then stir in the yeast. Let sit and proof until foamy, about 10-15 min depending on temperature in the room.

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix through. Make a well in the middle and add your eggs, melted fat and yeast mixture. Beat well with a large wooden or metal spoon until you get a sticky batter. Gradually stir in the remaining flour, 1/3-1/2 cup at a time until you can no longer stir it and a ball starts forming around the spoon. Turn the batter onto a lightly floured working surface and gradually knead in more flour until you get a soft but not sticky dough. It will take you about 7-10 minutes. You can take a break after 5 minutes. Cover the dough with the bowl that you made your bread in and after a few minutes continue kneading.

Oil a large bowl, place your ball of dough into the bowl and turn it around a bit so the ball gets lightly coated with oil as well. Cover the bowl with a large sheet of plastic food wrap and a clean towel and place in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, 1 – 1 1/2 hr depending on the temperature in the room.

Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 2 portions. Divide each half into 8 portions and shape as desired.

Cover with an oiled sheet of plastic food wrap (oil the one you used previously) and a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 45 min to 1 hr.

Preheat the oven to 425 deg F. (For the buns or rolls, you can preheat the oven to 375-400 deg F.)

Brush the buns or rolls with egg wash and bake until the top is golden brown and the bottom is firm, about 18-22 minutes. If you think you need to bake a bit longer, cover the tops with a sheet of aluminum foil and continue baking for several more minutes.

Hoagie buns – you can make about 8 6-8 inch long buns (113.5 g/ 1/4 lb each). When baked, you’ll end up with a 9 inch long hoagie or submarine bun. For 12 inch hoagies, you might want to use double the amount of dough (227 g/ 1/2 lb)

For the Oreo cookie fudge switch-up, I used the basic vanilla fudge recipe, added a couple of ounces of finely shaved white chocolate and 6 crumbled Oreo cookies.

I know not everyone likes chicken livers but I do. So I bought 2 pounds, cleaned them up and then fried them in a couple of tablespoons of canola oil with a finely chopped onion, a splash of French brandy and a bit of paprika for colour. Delicious over mashed potatoes or the creamy polenta below.

Christmas Sweets – Chocolate Chip Cookies and More Fudge

I don’t know many people who don’t like to munch on freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I ran across some Christmas themed chocolate chips in my pantry last week so I made a small batch using a recipe that Dana Mears shared to FB.

If you don’t want to be tempted by having the cookies around, freeze balls of the cookie dough and bake off a half dozen or so when you get a craving for freshly baked cookies.

After a bit of a break, I only made two kinds of fudge for Christmas … chocolate-mint, decorated with crushed candy cane, and eggnog. I started with the basic vanilla fudge recipe and added in shaved dark chocolate and mint extract, or French brandy, shaved white chocolate and nutmeg, for the two kinds of fudge, respectively.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate-Mint Fudge

I know it seems like I’m a bit fudge obsessed lately but it’s the easiest sweet I can make with pantry ingredients I have right now.

And, I’m still ticked off at the thought of paying $16 a pound (check Amazon if you don’t believe me) for something anyone can make at home, without a candy thermometer. And for someone who has candy making issues, that’s a strong statement.

So, on Friday, I made Peanut Butter fudge. I wonder what substituting the peanut butter with Nutella would taste like? Anyone want to give this a try? Maybe just a half recipe.

I know it’s not pretty but I recycled an aluminum foil loaf pan cause it was the only thing I had that was the right size. There’s a block of vanilla fudge in the picture for a colour comparison.

Peanut Butter Fudge – makes about 3 pounds

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix brown and white sugar with the milk in large pot; bring mixture to a boil. Stir in peanut butter and butter, reduce heat to medium and bring the mixture back to boil (stirring constantly). Remove the pot from the heat once the temperature has reached 115 C/239 F or the soft ball stage. Let cool for 5 min.

Add vanilla to the mixture; stir vigorously until the fudge looses its glossy sheen. Pour fudge into a buttered 8×8″ pan. Let cool and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Trial 2: (10/20/2016) Made a half batch of the original recipe. Melted ingredients at medium-high and once it started boiling, I reduced the heat to medium (5). It only took 6-7 min. of boiling to get to the soft ball stage. Stirred for a few minutes and then put the pan into a sink with an inch or so of cold water and in a few minutes more of stirring, it was thick enough to pour. Pour FAST and scrape out with firm spatula so you get most of the stuff on the sides and bottom into your pan.

And yesterday, I made Chocolate-Mint fudge using the vanilla fudge recipe as a base. This is the best textured batch of fudge I’ve made to date.

Chocolate-Mint Variation: After letting the fudge cool, for 5 minutes, I added 1 oz of finely chopped high cocoa fat chocolate to the mixture and 1 tsp of mint extract and beat it until the chocolate had melted and the fudge had lost its sheen while still being pourable.

You can use the basic vanilla fudge recipe to make many variations by adding different extracts, food colourings to part or all of it, nuts or dried fruits. A Black Forest variation with well drained maraschino cherries and a pink fudge layer comes to mind.

Perfect Vanilla and Crumbly Maple Pecan Fudge

This weekend I stopped in at the new city market and did some browsing. With less than $5 cash in my wallet, all I was looking for was an avocado.

They didn’t have any avocados at either the regular or organic garden fruit and vegetable kiosks but they DID have a kiosk  with Dutch apple pies etc and one with raw chocolate and fudges. It was early and there weren’t a lot of customers there yet so I struck up a conversation with the owner of the fudge stand. Even though I ‘hinted’ that I wasn’t in a position to buy on THIS visit, she offered to let me try her samples. I stuck with two, chocolate chili and chocolate cherry. They were ok, but honestly, I’ve had and even made better. I didn’t ask the price per pound/kg but it wasn’t cheap … $8 for the pre-cut and wrapped blocks which I estimate weighed ~150 gm.

In any case, I got a fudge craving so after a Saturday of watching the dough I had made with a new pineapple sourdough starter not rising, I dug out my recipe for vanilla fudge and made a batch. I haven’t made fudge for over three years, so I was a bit nervous about the process.

One thing you NEED when making fudge is an accurate candy thermometer. Mine claims water boils at 87 deg C/188.6 deg F so I use the soft ball test. I may have jumped the gun ‘just a bit’ when I took it off the heat and started cooling and then beating, but it looked good when I let it cool overnight. And the remnants of the fudge left on the pot tasted very good.

This morning, I dug the slightly soft vanilla fudge out of the aluminum pan I had poured it into, and threw it in the fridge for a half hour or so cause I wanted to get a nice clean cut.

Perfection … melt in your mouth, creamy smooth and delicious.

Vanilla Fudge – makes ~1 pound/500 gm

300 ml milk ( >1 cup, use homogenized milk, half and half is even better)
350 g granulated sugar ( 1 1/2 cups)
100 g unsalted butter ( 1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
unsalted butter for pan

Butter an 8″x8″ square glass pan, or line it with a sheet of parchment paper which has some overhang on 2 opposing side. (Your fudge will end up VERY thin so try to use a smaller pan with sides.)

Put the milk, sugar and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted. Bring to the boil and boil for 20-25 minutes, stirring all the time.

When the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (115°C/239°F on a candy thermometer), remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. (You may see some brownish bits suddenly appear in your fudge just before the temperature is reached. This happens if you miss stirring the MIDDLE of the pot because the fudge WILL stick.)

Leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes in the pan.

Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for 5-10 minutes until the fudge starts to thicken and the gloss disappears.  Pour into a prepared pan and leave to set at room temperature (do not put it in the fridge).

Once set, cut the fudge into small squares and store in a sealed container.

Maple Pecan Variation: Replace the white sugar with brown sugar and add 3 tbsp of maple syrup. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans at the same time you add your vanilla.

Of course, I pushed the limit and made a batch of maple pecan fudge too. I over-cooked it cause I kept cooking past the soft ball to the soft crack and then I transferred the fudge (the butter was separating as I stirred) into a large metal bowl where it started to get all crumbly. I scraped the fudge into my prepared pan, and learned it was too big for the amount of fudge I had. So, I shaped the fudge into a rough rectangle using the parchment paper and let it cool. The crumbly bits aren’t grainy in your mouth, though, and are tasty as well.

Fudge at start and towards the end of the cooking when you want to start your soft ball test.

 

 

Lesson Learned: Even a less than perfect fudge is delicious.