Posted about this on Instagram today and seemingly I’m not the only person who likes crumbly vanilla fudge, rather than chewy fudge! So here’s my Crumbly Vanilla Fudge Recipe.
I was an only child. When I was young, I used to go with my parents ‘for a drive’ at the weekends. For you young’uns reading this and thinking ‘you did WHAT?’, that’s what you did in the 70s.
Very often we would end up in Alfriston, a village near to Eastbourne where I grew up. There was a little shop there that sold vanilla fudge. It became known as Alfriston Fudge in our house. It was the most delicious fudge ever. Crumbly, grainy, almost tablet-like. Every time we went to Alfriston, I bought some with my pocket money.
Invariably when I buy fudge in a shop nowadays, I am disappointed. It tends to be soft, chewy fudge. Not like Alfriston fudge at all.
So I set about making my own.
I found a traditional fudge recipe in an old cookbook. No condensed milk, evaporated milk or any of the other things I’d seen online. Simply butter, sugar, milk and vanilla.
My first attempt turned out soft and chewy, see image on the left. It was glossy, and when you pulled it it went for miles. Andy said ‘yay! This is the most delicious homemade toffee I’ve ever had’.
Except it wasn’t supposed to be toffee. It was supposed to be Alfriston Fudge.
Then an interesting thing happened. I left the toffee, fudge or whatever it was out on the side in a bowl. Andy ate most of it but the bits that were left started to firm up quite a bit, with the crystallised bits of fudge in them that I was hoping for.
So I did some research.
Turns out you need to stir it a lot. I mean not just a quick stir like I did with the first batch. Oh no. You need to stir it within an inch of its life, until the glossiness starts to go out of it and it starts to thicken up. It’s pretty thick when you take it off the heat anyway, but it needs to be even thicker than that.
Given that the first batch tasted lovely and, after a couple of days, was getting pretty close to what I wanted, I decided to give the same traditional recipe another go and see how it turned out second time around.
If you too are searching for fudge with the crumbly consistency of a sort of tablet that is not tablet: this is the recipe.
It calls for full fat milk. I always tend to have cartons of full fat UHT milk in the house to make yogurt, so I used that. It worked perfectly.
I have no idea whether it would work with semi skimmed because I haven’t tried it. With the amount of sugar in it, there didn’t seem to be much point in reducing the fat content as it’s never going to be a healthy snack. Warning though: it’s utterly, utterly addictive. If crumbly fudge is your bag, you may have to hide it from yourself.
Crumbly Vanilla Fudge Recipe
100g salted butter
350g granulated sugar, any old white sugar is fine
300ml full fat milk – I used long life
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
You’ll also need a sugar thermometer, or you can test to soft ball stage if you know how to do that. Plus a small, pan/dish buttered and lined with baking parchment, mine measures 9 cm x 13cm.
Put all the ingredients except the vanilla into as heavy based a saucepan as you can find (sugar tends to burn in my thin saucepans, maybe that’s just me). Melt the mixture on a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When you’re confident all the sugar is dissolved, turn up the heat.
Bring the pan to the boil. The mixture will start rising up inside the pan, remain calm. Boil it for at least 15 minutes. I stirred mine frequently to stop the sugar ‘catching’ on the bottom of the pan, and kept popping in a sugar thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. When the temperature hits 115°C, take the pan off the heat for a couple of minutes until it all calms down.
Add the vanilla. Then stir it with a wooden spoon for at least 5 minutes, and/or until you notice it starting to change consistency and the gloss decreasing. If the sugar has ‘caught’ a little bit on the bottom of the pan, don’t worry. Just keep stirring.
Then pour it into your prepared dish. As it starts to cool, mark out the fudge into squares, then leave until it’s cold.
Turn the fudge out in one piece onto a plate. If your cuts didn’t go all the way to the bottom of the pan, the lines you made before it was cold will still be enough to allow you to cut it into squares without it shattering everywhere.
Give away as gifts wrapped in cellophane, or eat it all yourself 🙂
Now all I have to do is work out how to replicate the most delicious toffee that Andy has ever tasted. Hopefully it’s simply a case of not stirring it much before you put it into the prepared dish… I’ll let you know !
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