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Vanilla fudge is a sweet, creamy confection that is made using milk and vanilla extract. This confection and the closely related chocolate fudge are quite popular as a dessert or a comfort food in many Western countries, and variations of these fudges can be found in other world cuisines as well. Vanilla fudge can be purchased ready made in a sweet shop or food store, and can also be prepared at home.
It is quite easy to make vanilla fudge. There are many different fudge recipes, but the main ingredients required in the preparation of the basic vanilla fudge confectionery include milk, powdered sugar, unsalted butter and vanilla extract. Fruit, nuts, marshmallows, corn syrup and honey can also be used if required. Cocoa or drinking chocolate can be added to get a chocolate flavor when making vanilla chocolate fudge or pure chocolate fudge.
To begin with, the powdered sugar and butter are added to the milk in a pan, which is placed on a low heat. The mixture is stirred constantly as it heats to prevent the milk from burning the sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The stirring will also help the sugar and the butter to dissolve completely. When the milk reaches its boiling point, it is necessary to stop stirring it; if any further stirring is carried out at this point, it will cause the dissolved sugar crystals in the milk to re-form, which will eventually give the vanilla fudge a grainy texture instead of the characteristic smooth, creamy texture that is required.
The heat should then be turned down and the milk should be allowed to simmer for a while. Once the milk starts to thicken, the pan should be removed from the heat and the vanilla extract should be added to the milk. Fruits, nuts, marshmallows and cocoa can also be added to the mixture at this point if desired.
The milk should be left to cool and thicken some more, and then it should be stirred once again. It is then poured into a flat tray that has been greased with butter beforehand and the liquid fudge should be left to set, either at room temperature on a counter or in a refrigerator. After the vanilla fudge has set, it can be cut into square pieces of required size. These can be eaten immediately or stored in air tight containers.
"Drinking chocolate" as the base for chocolate fudge? Huh? I always used good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips. Works for me.
I will say that my candy always, always turns out better when I make it on a cold, clear night with low humidity. Something about the moisture in the air can affect the way the fudge "comes set." Sometimes it won't set, or it will be grainy.
@Grivusangel -- So right about that white vanilla flavoring! Yuck! My mom bought some from the ladies' group at church years ago and it was awful. It was a good brand, but the white stuff just tastes bad. I don't mind beige vanilla fudge. If you make it with marshmallow creme, that can make it whiter.
You need a candy thermometer to make fudge of any kind, unless it's the kind that has sweetened condensed milk in it. I normally heat my fudge to about 235-240 degrees Fahrenheit, which is soft ball stage, and hold it there for about 1 minute --no longer.
Actually, when you leave the fudge mix to cool, you need to temp it again and don't mess with it until it's about 110 degrees. Then you beat the devil out of it (usually with a wooden spoon) until it thickens and is no longer glossy.
Be sure to use really good vanilla for the fudge, since that's the predominate flavor in the candy. Don't use that cheap imitation stuff or the "white" kind so it won't have the color. It's not worth the effort and will give the fudge a fake taste.