Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day, and that peace and love came your way. I had a lovely day with my family, in fact, one of the best Christmas Days that I can remember. There was virtually no family conflict of any kind (hooray!), the food prepared by my mother was delicious and plentiful, and our time was spent together in harmony. What more can a girl ask?
Now it is Boxing Day, an official public holiday in Oz, and a perfect time to share with you another Christmas box recipe - this time, for chocolate cashew fudge. Personally, I am not a huge fudge fan, but I know that it is popular with many people (given that there are whole stores devoted to selling fudge!), so it was a "must have" in my gift boxes. I wanted to make fudge the old-fashioned way, without the assistance of condensed milk, so I used a recipe for chocolate fudge from The Australian Womens Weekly's Sweet as my base, and added cashew nuts to it.
This recipe was easy to make - as I mentioned in my previous post, I am not an experienced sweet maker, and I had no problems with this. The end result tasted good, although I cannot truthfully say that it is one of my favourite things for the aforesaid reason. There were no complaints about it from the recipients, so I am taking this as a positive :).
If you are at a loose end over the holidays and feel like making some chocolate fudge, the recipe is as follows:
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
60g chopped dark chocolate
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
40g chopped butter
1/2 cup unsalted cashews (optional)
Grease a 15cm square tin and line with baking paper, leaving sufficient overhang so that you can use it to lift the fudge out of the pan once it's set.
Put the white sugar, brown sugar, chocolate, cream and milk in a saucepan and stir over heat on the stovetop until the sugar dissolves, then bring the mixture to the boil without stirring and allow to boil for around 10 minutes or until the mixture reaches 116 degrees Celsius on a candy thermometer.
Remove the saucepan from the stovetop, leaving the candy thermometer in the mixture, and place the chopped butter on top of the mixture, but do not stir it in.
Allow the mixture to cool on the bench to 40 degrees Celsius (around 20 minutes), then take out the candy thermometer. Add the cashews (or other nuts), if using, then stir the fudge with a wooden spoon for around 10 minutes or until the mixture holds its shape when a small piece is dropped onto a plate. Spread the fudge into the prepared tin, and cover the top of the tin with foil. Allow the fudge to set at room temperature for 3 hours or until the fudge sets.
Once the fudge has set completely, lift it out of the tin using the paper overhang, and cut it into squares of the desired size. Wrap as desired, or store in an airtight container.
My fudge was one of the elements in my Christmas gift boxes to friends and colleagues, which also contained one each of the following:
There was also rum balls and apricot balls, but they did not make the picture (because I forgot!). I packaged each piece in cellophane (or cling film when I ran out of cellophane :)), then put the pieces into medium sized noodle boxes:
Each person's box was tagged with a handmade felt star Christmas tree decoration, on which their name had been embroidered:
This project took longer to complete than I anticipated (I put together 28 of these boxes), but it was fun to plan and execute, and I was pleased with the end result. I'm not sure that I would do it again, at least on this scale, but it was definitely worth it.
Happy holidays to all!