December's Crazy Cooking Challenge is fudge! Yup, fudge. Now, that may not seem like a difficult task, taken on its face, but to someone who likes to exhibit the joys of solar cooking, it brought quite a challenge. A thousand years ago, when I was a pup, my sister-in-law gave me a no-fail baked fudge recipe. Really. This was fudge -- not one of those pudding brownie thingies -- real fudge. And, after discovering how great it was, I foolishly managed to lose the recipe during my many moves. Since the Crazy Cooking Challenge requires using a recipe from another food blogger, imagine my joy to discover something so close to that old recipe that with a little tweak here and there, I couldn't wait to share it with you.
Remember, participants are supposed to find bloggers who are NOT professional chefs or commercial recipe blogs, so I was delighted to discover Kathy Maister's blog, Start Cooking.com . She falls somewhere in between the guidelines because she was a Home Ec teacher and has decided to help new cooks, online. There's everything your heart desires to learn, there, including this great baked fudge recipe! While visiting, say hello from the Challenge and check out all her other recipes, as well.
With just five ingredients: 1/4 tsp salt, 14 oz condensed milk, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1 pound of fine quality milk chocolate (I used dark), and 1/2 tsp vanilla, plopped into the bowl, it was ready for the oven. The beauty of baked fudge is that you don't have to worry constant stirring or spillover with hot fudge rising up the sides of the pot. You just have to check it, once or twice, during the next hour and a half and gave it a stir. Then, it's just a matter of waiting for the mixture to melt enough to be stirred smooth.
What I did do differently, of course, was use the solar oven to make my fudge. I put all the ingredients in a 2-quart glass pyrex measuring cup with handle and then placed it inside my 3-quart roaster that had approximately 1.5 inches of hot water in the bottom. This would be baked without a cover, so using a wooden spoon to hold the 'handles' of my SolarWear(R) base made it very easy to transport and place inside the oven and not have the handles fall into the fudge onto the floor of the solar oven.
Yes, my condensed milk is caramelly. I like to do that with condensed milk to have caramel on hand for other recipes -- and, when I was ready to try this recipe, that was all that was left on the pantry shelf. Brought a whole new dimension to the flavoring and didn't mess up the recipe, at all. Once it was done, I brought it inside and gave it a thorough mixing; then, poured the fudge into an 8x8x2 pan, lined with parchment paper. As you can see, I took Kathy's suggestion and let the parchment paper come up the sides. A couple of mini drops onto my counter to even out the mix and, then, into the refrigerator for the next 3-4 hours. What could be easier?
This was just a plain fudge recipe, with a great fudge texture, and soooooo easy. Next time, I'll be adding walnuts or pecans. I'll hope you'll give it a try.
Now, I have to hide it from my sister... heh heh heh...