Fudge is a tawdry confection of cooked sugar, butter and cream. She makes no apologies for her excesses. She is shamelessly sweet, shockingly fattening and decadently laden with chocolate. She has long been quietly adored — lasciviously eyed at ports of call like boardwalks, amusement parks and shopping malls — she has never learned quite how to dress. She comes to us in chunky blocks which we stuff in paper bags as if this indulgence were something illicit to hide. But we fudge lovers have never required the object of our affections to look fetching. We never require her to be dressed up with doilies, decorated with powdered sugar or stacked on pedestals like her trendy cousins, the artisan cupcakes.
It is time for fudge to go glam! She needs a muse and a catalyst and that, oh great fudge-lover and home confectioner, is you. Dress this lady up in fine clothing and give her some jewels. This holiday season, when you make your favorite fudge, don’t stuff her into that horrible corset of a small square pan as most recipes will instruct you to do. Instead, pour the still-warm fudge on a buttered swath of tin foil that has been laid into a sheet pan. Smooth her over the foil to a slender ½ inch thick – just a fraction of the usual clumsy height. Then, once the fudge has set, trim her with cookie cutters, dust her with exotic sugars, dip her in the finest chocolate or sprinkle her with carefully roasted nutmeats. Fudge, with her regaldelivery of flavor, decadance and satisfaction deserves the trappings of the richest confections.
Chocolate Courtesan Fudge
- Grease a half sheet pan or 9 x 12 inch pan.
- Combine sugar, and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until you hit 235°F on a digital or candy thermometer.
- Take the pan off the heat and fold in the chocolate, vanilla, salt, and walnuts. Stir vigorously for several minutes, until the mixture is very smooth, then pour into the prepared pan.
- Allow the mixture to set, about 30 minutes. Slice with a small fan-shaped or heart-shaped cookie cutter.
Note: This fudge is very rich, so if you can’t find a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, use a paring knife to make small uniform shapes. Keep a bowl of hot water and a damp cloth nearby to clean the cutter or knife after each use. If the fudge is too soft to cut easily, chill for another 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Susie Norris is a chocolatier, TV producer and author of the book “Chocolate Bliss.“