Friday, June 3, 2011

Creamsicle Fudge

WARNING!!! This has been described to me as “The best thing you’ve ever made.” It was also described to me as “Disgusting, I think I’m going to lose my lunch.” These might sound like contrasting opinions, but they are in fact telling me the same thing. This fudge is downright amazing.

Perhaps some explaining is in order. The first compliment came from my candy-loving boss. If there is any candy or chocolate in the building he will find it, and eat it. Which is fine, until I want an Oreo… and they’re all gone. He is always telling me I should go into business as a candy-maker. I don’t know how I should take that, since he’s my chemistry boss…

The second of the two comments came from my coworker. Last year, we were a small group of chemists, but by mid-year we had ballooned to a much larger bunch. Competition for the sweets and snacks that I brought in became more and more cutthroat. The compliments turned from praising to degrading, especially when others were within earshot. A little reverse psychology warfare was being played and it continues today.

Creamsicle Fudge

The orange version of these tastes exactly like one of those frozen dreamsicle pops. The strawberry fudge is just like a strawberry creamsaver, so good. This can be made by hand or with a stand mixer. If you are stirring by hand then be sure to have a strong spoon ready! The first 30 seconds are going to be tough! 

You might notice the texture difference between the strawberry (top) and orange (bottom).  The orange sugar base was cooked to a slightly higher temperature (251) and took on a more firm texture.  The strawberry was cooked to 248 and is softer, it needed to be stored in the fridge.  I also think I added too much strawberry puree and have decreased the amount in the recipe below.

2 cups sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup milk (2% or full fat)
½ tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp orange juice concentrate (or 1 ½ tbsp strawberry puree)

Combine sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream and milk in a pot with tall sides. Clip on your candy thermometer and heat over medium. Whisk the entire time until the temperature reaches 248 °F. Add the salt and vanilla extract in the last few seconds.

Whisk quickly!  It will bubble a lot.
Pour sugar syrup into a 9x13-inch pan and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

See how shiny it is?
Pour into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a bowl and get your muscles ready!). Stir on medium for 1 minute then add fruit of choice. Stir for 2 more minutes (5 minutes by hand). The fudge will become lighter in color and less shiny.

See how not shiny it is now?
Butter an 8x5-inch loaf pan and pour fudge mixture in. Using greased hands, spread the mixture until you have an even layer. Allow fudge to sit for at least 1 hour to crystallize. Cut up and enjoy!
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