Among the many things Father Christmas brought for my kitchen last month was a stocking filler of very large jar of Marshmallow Fluff. A bit of an American classic, it is basically what they fill Tunnocks’ Snowballs (without the delicious, but fiddly outer coating of chocolate and coconut that goes everywhere you try to eat them.) You can eat it from the jar, as I used to as a teen when Mister North used to bring me pots of the stuff, make the legendary Fluffernutter sandwich if you mix it with peanut butter or you can do what I did and use it to make fudge.
As I mentioned before, I am nervous about hot sugar and therefore I have never tried to make fudge or toffee before, but this recipe describes itself as Never Fail Fudge. That sounded like my thing!
First up I had to convert the recipe since it makes a whopping two and half pounds of the stuff and I had no desire to still be eating the stuff next time Father Christmas comes around. I simply divided it all in two, having established with an online convertor that a stick of butter is approximately 57 grams. I ended up using 30 grams because I just couldn’t be bothered to divide utterly accurately.
This was all very straightfoward as was the getting the recipe going. Everything melted nicely and seemed to get boiling quite quickly as I probably started it all on a higher heat than intended. I began to run into difficulties about now as the boiling mixture spits and bubbles like an angry volcano and would have felt more confident with with a larger pan to give it more room. I let the fudge mixture heat as high I could to keep the rolling boil going and stirred like crazy. After 4 minutes, I tried the soft ball test and got nowhere. After nearly 6 however, it looked pretty ball-like to me and I took it off the heat, fearing for my poor pan and poured the mixture into my greased pan.
It looked pretty runny to me but inexperienced in the ways of fudgecraft, I assumed if would harden up overnight and left it somewhere cool to do its thing. Imagine my consternation next morning when I still had a glossy, but runny mixture that looked more caramelly than fudge. I contemplating re-boiling it but didn’t feel confident enough to risk a pan. I abandoned my original idea of filling cupcakes with a chunk of fudge and decided to use it as a drizzle instead.
I went for my favourite well tried and tested coffee cake recipe, omitting the cardamom this time, topping the individual cakes with a coffee cream cheese frosting. This is basically cream cheese, a tablespoon of instant coffee and two tablespoons of icing sugar whisked together and then piped onto the cakes. I have never actually iced my own cakes before and I struggled a bit with these, not finding the nozzle I felt comfortable with and ending up with a bit of a lopsided mess.
On top of this I then made slightly more of a mess by adding the warmed fudge to the top in a selection of blobs and drizzles before allowing it to set firm again before eating. They did not look particularly attractive or practised, but they tasted amazing. The cake was very moist, the frosting had just the right amount of sharpness and the fudge added an extra level of sticky goodness that made me even more convinced coffee cake is the best cake ever created!
These went down well at afternoon tea and no one even attempted to protest when they went home with two each, so I’ll be revisiting the drizzle idea on a cupcake, but I think we can safely conclude that I can’t make fudge for toffee…