Category: fudge

The Perfect Cookie & The Easiest Fudge

Inspired in part by my new favourite Hagen Daaz ice cream (Mayan Chocolate), in part by the cookie exchange that was coming up (The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap), and in part by my constant desire to make the perfect cookie (I am a perfectionist, what can I say?!) – I came up with this recipe – after about 10 different attempts.

I wanted a cookie that would be chewy, but not cakey. Flavourful, but not greasy. Soft, even after it cooled. Crisp on the outside. Chocolate chip, but not boring.

I wanted my cookie to have it all!

I wanted my cookie to be worthy of the wonderful food bloggers that I would be sending it to!

I wanted my cookie to be… perfect!

In every journey, we learn things along the way that we did not know before. So what did I learn in my quest for the perfect cookie? I learned that nothing, not even a cookie, can be perfect.  (Though, I’ve managed to get it pretty damn close.) I learned that a lot of the texture is about the process, and not the ingredients. I learned that I still don’t like chocolate chips. But, most importantly, I learned that my roommate is able to polish off 2 dozen cookies in the span of 15 minutes. (On that note, I also learned that leaving cookies in the cookie jar most likely means that there will be none left for me.)

In my exchange, I was given the challenge of someone who was following a gluten-free diet due to fibromyalgia. Because of this, she would not be able to eat any cookies made with regular flour. Though I tried a couple of GF recipes, I did not feel they were good enough to give away, so I came up with an even better idea: chocolate meltaways (aka, super creamy fudge.)

I thought this was a perfect compromise, because, well, there are two types of people in this world:
1: people who like fudge. 2: Liars.

Mayan Chocolate Chip Cookies
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need

1/2 cup crisco vegetable shortening
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 tbsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp rock salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used multiple varieties)

how to do it
Combine shortening, butter and sugars. Cream until smooth. (An electric mixer works best for this).
Add in egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet mixture, but do not overmix. Cover dough and chill for at least one hour. Scoop spoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, about half an inch apart.
Bake in preheated oven at 375 for 8 minutes. Cookies will appear light when done. This is good, as it means they will remain soft. (Baking for longer will result in crunchy cookies!)

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Peppermint Fudge (Gluten-Free)
modified version of “Chocolate Meltaways,”
Food Network Magazine, December 2013

what you’ll need
2 cups chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
few drops peppermint extract
5-6 crushed candy canes

how to do it
in a medium saucepan, over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the shortening, stirring constantly with a spatula. Drop in peppermint drops and stir. Pour into greased, floured (I used arrowroot flour to keep this gluten-free) 6×6 pan. Chill for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with candy cane pieces, and continue to chill until hardened, about an hour. Cut into squares and serve.

VARIATION: Mayan Chocolate Fudge: Omit peppermint and add 2 tsp of cinnamon. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Sugar Sugar (Sucre-à-la-Crème / Maple Fudge)

Reasons to make this fudge: Because I don’t celebrate Christmas. Because I love candy. Because I am Québécoise. Because this is my favorite thing in the world to eat. Because I’ve never made it before. Because I like to be challenged. Because edible gifts are the best kind of gifts. Because I have a new thermometer. 
Because I wanted to. 
Just because. 
This fudge is a traditional Quebecois recipe that I’ve been wanting to attempt for quite some time. Unfortunately, I’ve always been intimidated by any recipe that calls for a thermometer, as I’ve had a few caramel disasters in the past. (Caramel melting the bowl to the bottom of the microwave, caramel burning to the pot, caramel burning my hand, caramel burning my tongue, caramel burning…) 
Leaving the past in the past, I now feel confident enough in the kitchen to consider myself somewhere between novice and expert, and definitely ready for a challenge. And when my challenge is presented in a way that makes it look easy, well I just have to take it on.
Just before slipping into a food coma from all of my holiday indulgences, I watched as Chuck Hughes came on television and demonstrated just how simple this traditional fudge is to make. Texting myself the ingredients as I listened (because, you know, paper and pens are sooo 2005), I knew I had to rush home and make this stuff. As soon as humanly possible. 
And then again a second time. 
You know, for gifts. 
Traditional Sucre-a-la-Creme 
(French Canadian Maple Fudge)
recipe adapted from the Food Network’s Chuck Hughes
note: the original recipe calls for one tbsp of butter. I found my fudge to be a little on the greasy side and believe that it should be done with less. I also omitted the pecans, as I wanted a more traditional variety. 
what you’ll need
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 cup 35% cream
½ cup sugar
½  cup maple syrup
½  tsp butter
Pinch sea salt

how to do it
Line an 8” x 8”square pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil.
In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cream, sugar, maple syrup, butter and salt and bring to a boil, stirring with a heatproof spatula. Simmer over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 237 degrees F (114 degrees C). Add the vanilla extract without stirring.
Prepare a bowl large enough to fit the saucepan into. Fill with cold water and ice.
Once the candy reaches 237 degrees, place the pan immediately into a cold water bath. Cool, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 113 degrees F (45 degrees C), about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the water bath. Using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until the mixture begins to lighten in color and become creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not over-whip, as the sugar and cream mixture will harden before you have time to pour it into the pan.