Sunday, 29 December 2013

Baileys Fudge

The last in my trilogy of fudge posts for this Christmas, this recipe is a little more complex than the previous two, but still very manageable, even without a sugar thermometer.

Normally, I only make one type of fudge at Christmas time for gifts, but this year my mum mentioned a recipe for Baileys fudge she'd seen floating around on Pinterest. Not being one to embark on something so 'bold' (it's really not that difficult) herself (let's not even go there), I decided I would experiment myself. I'm so glad I did, it was a huge success! Because the 'setting agent' in this recipe is the icing sugar, this fudge has a softer, more 'traditional' fudge-like consistency that you might associate with the sweet treat.

This fudge is great, with a lovely Baileys taste that comes through very nicely. It's smooth and creamy, achieved through the vigorous beating in of icing sugar at the end. Great for a more grown-up taste than that of the previous plain chocolate versions.

I have to admit, I was dubious that my attempts without a sugar thermometer would be successful, but there's a very easy way to get around this, and if in doubt just add double the original recipe's amount of icing sugar, like I all worked out fine.

Ditch the faff of a sugar thermometer by using the clever technique of a cup of cold water and your good judgement. The original recipe asked for the sticky sugar mix to be cooked until it reached 238 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise known as the 'soft ball stage'. To achieve this with much less stress than with a thermometer, cook your mixture for about 7-10 minutes, until it has reduced a little and thickened. Take a teaspoon or so of the mix and drop it into a cup of cold water. Tip the water down the drain and scoop up the caramel mix with your fingers. Caramel at the 'soft ball stage' should be able to be shaped and rolled into a ball with your fingers, and should not just be a gooey sticky mess. For more, see pictures.

Add a few drops of fudge mix to cold water, then tip it out...
If ready the fudge should be able to be easily rolled into a 'soft ball'

Baileys Fudge
Make one 9''/10'' pan

120ml evapourated milk (or a combination of half Baileys and half evap milk, for a stronger Baileys taste)
220g light brown sugar
200g granulated sugar
170g butter
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
60ml Baileys
500g (1 box) icing sugar, sifted (NB: the original recipe called for 270g, but to be extra sure the fudge would set firm I increased this to 500g)

1. Line a 9''/10'' square baking tin with grease proof paper. Stir the evapourated milk (or milk and Baileys mix), sugars and butter together in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until the 'soft ball stage' is reached (see above) or 238 degrees Farenheight, about 7-11 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning. The mixture should be thicker and slightly reduced by this point. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in the 60ml of Baileys and vanilla extract if using. Pour the mix into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer and either beat in icing sugar with a paddle attachment, or whisk with an electric mixer. Add the icing sugar in 3 additions, beating well in between. The mixing at this stage is what gives the fudge its creamy smooth texture, so take the time to beat it well. Pour into prepared tin and leave to cool and set completely.

Fudge will keep well in an airtight container for several weeks.

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