Authentic homemade fudge has officially become my Achilles heel. I started out my fudge journey a couple of years ago when I made a quick and easy fudge recipe using sweetened condensed milk. Last year, I thought I would crank things up a notch and make “real” homemade fudge – you know, the kind with the candy thermometer and lots of mixing with a wooden spoon. It took me three tries last winter before I finally managed to turn out a decent batch of chocolate fudge. Then I moved on to an awesome, easy recipe for peanut butter fudge, which is still my favorite. Now that the weather has cooled, I really wanted to whip up a batch of maple-walnut fudge. Again, I tried twice using the “old-fashioned” method and had no success. The first time the fudge didn’t set up and remained a sludge-like mixture, and then the opposite happened – it got way too hard too fast. I took a deep breath. I had run out of patience with having to toss real maple syrup (not cheap) and tons of walnuts (not cheap) into the garbage – twice. So I went on a search for an easy version of maple-walnut fudge. And… ta-da! I have fudge!
I think I need to accept the fact that I will never be an all-world fudge superstar. It’s not my lot in life. And I’m okay with that. I can still make fabulous homemade fudge, it just won’t be the beach boardwalk authentic variety. But variety is the spice of life, right? Sometimes when we admit our shortcomings it frees us to explore alternatives that can be just as good, if not better, than that which we were originally searching for. And this maple-walnut fudge alternative? Absolutely phenomenal. It will totally get you in the mood for fall. And I am celebrating my fudge freedom by embracing easy fudge recipes and all of the wonderful varieties that I can dream up between now and Christmas!
What type of recipe or technique vexes you in the kitchen? I know I can’t be the only one ;-)
1. Butter an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch square pan. Line with parchment paper or foil, and butter that; set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk and butter. Bring to a full boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly (no lower than medium-low) and boil for an additional 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and maple flavoring. Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat the fudge on medium speed until thick and glossy - about 3 minutes. Fold in the walnuts and pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
4. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Slice the fudge into 1-inch squares and serve. (Fudge can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.)
Note: You can find the maple flavoring in the baking aisle where the vanilla extracts are.