A Recipe With Its Own Hidden Dangers
This is a great recipe for when your kids want to give their teachers a Christmas present. It’s very simple, very delicious and looks very pretty when put in jars with gingham lids.
However, do be careful who you show them to. The kids and I made many, many jars of fudge for the many, many wonderful staff at their school. I cut out blue gingham lids for Ben’s jars and pink gingham lids for Becky’s jars, and we lined them all up on the kitchen counter and admired them. Though I says it as shouldn’t, they looked extremely pretty. Becky was so impressed with their appearance that she went to show her daddy. And Tony looked at them and said, “Yes, they are very pretty, aren’t they? That’s because mummy fancies Mr Clarke.”
Ever since then, I have lived in dread of one day accidentally making eye contact with Mr Clarke across the playground and divining the awful knowledge that Becky has, in some idle moment during class-time, said, “You know…my daddy said that my mummy fancies you.” For the record, I do not fancy Mr Clarke. But this is a delicious fudge recipe.
350g caster sugar
A few drops of Vanilla extract
A very, very large saucepan
1. Melt the butter, sugar and milk together in your very, very large and very, very deep saucepan saucepan. It is of critical importance that this saucepan initially appears to be FAR TOO BIG for your ingredients.
2. Bring your mixture to the boil, stirring all the time. It will creep inexorably up the side of the pan, growing to many many times its original size. Stirring helps keep its growth within bounds, so if you stop for a few seconds to scratch your nose or turn the page on your Kindle, be prepared for it to get even bigger. Once you’re certain it’s not going to explode out of its container, invite little ones to come and stir. But watch them like the Republican party watches the Iranian government, because…
3. …essentially, you now have a large pan of melty, syrupy gorgeousness that looks absolutely delicious. Do not under any circumstances give in to the temptation to stick a finger in, and do not let any one else try this either. For the time being it’s best if you think of your fudge as an extremely scrumptious form of Napalm and act accordingly.
4. Keep boiling, stirring and hawkishly supervising until your mixture reaches the “soft-ball” stage. If you have a sugar thermometer, this is where your mixture reaches the temperature of 118C. If you have a life, this stage occurs at a time between sixteen and nineteen minutes of stirring for the quantities given. You’ll know you’re there when your mixture does the following:
– Shrinks back down to manageable proportions
– Goes a little bit darker
– Goes a little bit thicker
– May have the odd little fleck of crystallised brown-ness appearing (if you see them, take the pan off the heat because you’re definitely there)
You may also like to try smearing a little bit on a saucer and then cautiously prodding it with a spoon to see if it’s setting. Again – you have a saucepan full of delicious Napalm, and it will hold its heat for a long, loooong time. Do Not Touch.
5. Take your saucepan off the heat, stir in a few drops of vanilla extract and leave to cool. Still Napalm; Still Do Not Touch.
6. After five minutes, beat the mixture with a spoon until the gloss starts to disappear. At this point it’s about to set like a rock, so you have a very limited amount of time to scrape it into a greased tin (a cake-tin is fine) so it can finish setting. It’s probably a little less Napalm-y, but best to be on the safe side. Leave it to cool (but don’t refrigerate it).
7. When the fudge is cool (give it an hour or two), smash it into pieces using whatever method pleases you most. If you can stand to, put it in jars and give it as presents. If you can’t stand to, eat it all up and make more. And while you’re at it, try not to accidentally plant the idea in your children’s heads that your spouse has carnal designs on their teacher.