Made using the traditional boiling method with store cupboard ingredients, this vanilla fudge recipe would make a great gift.
This vanilla fudge would make a lovely gift Mothering Sunday, though it would equally be great for a Christmas gift a birthday treat or as a “Thank you” to somebody.
Being a keen home baker, I’ve been wanting to create my own delicious homemade fudge for sometime. I’ve had several, unfortunately failed, attempts over the past few months. Overly soft fudge! A burnt pan!
What was once good food having to be put into the bin because it couldn’t be salvaged! It really became a bit of a nemesis for me. Now, although I successfully made a Cheat’s Chocolate Orange Fudge just before Christmas, with the aid of a microwave, I knew I wouldn’t be happy just using that method.
Don’t get me wrong, the microwave method is good but the need to succeed at the traditional method was like a bee in my bonnet; forever telling me that I couldn’t make a straightforward vanilla fudge.
Well, that bee in my bonnet has now gone! I finally succeeded! After doing a bit more reading and acquiring a good quality digital sugar thermometer, I have finally made a delicious batch of homemade traditional vanilla fudge.
It’s certainly not going to be my last either! I can feel some more fudge recipes coming this way!
So how did I finally succeed in making our homemade vanilla fudge (tips from BBC Good Food):
- The mixture was constantly stirred, as also recommended by professional chefs James Martin & Phil Vickery.
- The mixture was cooked until it reached 116C / 241F, also known as ‘soft ball stage’
- The bubbly, molten hot fudge was allowed to cool, undisturbed, to 110C / 230F
- Flavouring was then added before being thoroughly beaten as it continued to cool. This beating allows very small sugar crystal to form. If the mixture is beaten too soon then larger crystal will form instead.
Cleary sugar work requires accuracy in temperature and for that reason I would recommend, to those unfamiliar with making fudge (like me), purchasing a good quality digital thermometer.
Until recently, the one I’d been using constantly slipped deeper into the pan despite using the ‘grip’. As it was touching the base of the pan I was getting false temperature readings, meaning I was taking the temperature of the pan and not of the fudge.
My fudge simply wasn’t hot enough and therefore failed to set properly. Just after the recipe I have linked to the two sugar thermometers I am now using with great success.
Fudge can be made without a sugar thermometer, requiring small amounts of the molten sugar to be dropped into a glass of water. If it’s ready it will ball together and when handled will feel like a ‘soft ball’.
This process is used by those who regularly make sugar confectionary, though it doesn’t provide the same assurance as a thermometer does for those of us who are less practised.
And the verdict? Ooh boy, it was good! Just as it should be; firm, yet soft, slightly granular, rich, moreish and lets not forget delicious! Not wanting to buy a new wardrobe, we shared this with neighbours and work colleagues who soon devoured the goods on offer.
More Fudge Recipes
How to make Traditional Vanilla Fudge Step by Step
Traditional Vanilla Fudge
- 300 ml double cream/ heavy cream (⅓pt)
- 100 ml milk (3½floz)
- 100 g butter (3½oz)
- 300 g caster sugar (10½oz)
- 150 g light muscovado sugar (5oz)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Large heavy based pan, which holds a volume of at least 3Ll (5pt)
- Digital Sugar Thermometer
- 20cm (8in) square shallow cake tin
- Lightly grease and fully line a 20cm (8in) square cake tin.
- Place 300ml (½ pt) double cream, 100ml (3½floz) milk, 100g (3½oz) butter, 300g (10½oz) caster sugar and 150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar into a large heavy-based pan. Place over a low heat. Stir constantly until the butter has melted and the sugars have dissolved.
- Increase the heat under the pan slightly to allow it to gradually come to the boil whilst stirring all of the time. Simmer the mixture, whilst continuing to stir, until it reaches 116°C ( 241°F) (soft ball stage).
- Once the required temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and leave it undisturbed to cool down to 110°C ( 230°F). This will only take a couple of minutes.
- Add the vanilla and beat the mixture with the wooden spoon vigorously until the fudge has thickened and has lost its shine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth it into the corners. Set aside to cool at room temperature for two or three hours.
- Once fully cold and firm remove the fudge from the tin. Use a sharp knife to slice the fudge into bite sized pieces.
- Cook’s Tips
- Remember, this is incredibly hot. Do stir the syrup carefully so as to avoid splashing yourself. You may find it worthwhile to wear an ovenglove whilst stirring.
- When boiling the mixture it will feel as though the temperature is stuck at around 104℃ (220°F) for a few minutes. Be patient, it will eventually move and will then increase comparatively rapidly.
- Allow the fudge to firm up at room temperature rather then placing it in the fridge.
- Do ensure your pan holds AT LEAST 3l (5pt) before starting to make the fudge as it climbs up the sides of the pan during the boiling stage.