Friday, December 26, 2014

Caramel Almond Fudge

Caramel Almond Fudge - made December 13, 2014, adapted from Crazy for Crust
Christmas is over but I'm still catching up on posts for desserts I made over the holiday season. Fudge is another one of those once-a-year things I make this time of year. Partly because of my spotty history with fudge (failure, failure, success, failure) and partly because a little fudge goes a long way so I only need to make 1 recipe and it goes into more than half a dozen baked gift packs with some leftovers for work. Which makes it perfect for baked gifts to add variety with relatively little time sink.
I’d had a recipe for 100 Grand Fudge from Crazy for Crust pinned to my pinterest board for months now. It called for fudge swirled with caramel and dotted with rice krispies like the 100 Grand candy bars of my childhood (that my parents never bought me and I could only long for but….we won’t go there).  Anyway, I tried out Dorothy’s recipe with high, high hopes. Surely my fudge curse was broken with last year’s successful Almond Nutella Fudge. Er, maybe.
The fudge itself was easy to make, the caramel was flowy and promising and of course I love the Rice Krispies crunch which is what makes my Nutella Crunch topping in brownies such a favorite. But erk, something went wrong. Unlike with the Nutella crunch topping, the rice krispies softened up in the fudge mixture. I don’t know if it’s because the sweetened condensed milk had far more moisture than the melted chocolate chips and Nutella of the Nutella crunch topping but snap, crackle and pop they did not. Instead, I was left with chewy rather than crunchy rice krispies that had the texture of something that had been left to stale for too long then got rained on. Sigh. Once again the fudge gods laughed cruelly at my expense.
Not to be deterred, however, I tried it again and this time left out the rice krispies entirely and substituted whole toasted almonds instead. I know, that defeats the “100 Grand” candy notion but it was that or stale Rice Krispies with no crunch – you decide. This version turned out decently well but this is cheater’s fudge. Meaning sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips melted together to form fudge is a pretty basic form of fudge. It had the requisite sweetness but I noticed once it had cooled completely, it had pretty much lost its gloss. It wasn’t dry but I can’t say it was visually appealing either. I did like the fudge, caramel and almond combination though so I think I would substitute in my friend Jez’soriginal fudge recipe that I had modified last year and just add the caramel. Because, you know, fudge needs way more calories than it already has.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
¾ cup whole toasted almonds
1 cup Caramel Bits (from an 11 ounce package)
3 tablespoons whole milk
  1. Line a loaf pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Add caramel bits and heavy cream to a small, microwaveable bowl. Heat for 1 1/2 minutes on HIGH, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. (It may take up to 2 minutes.)
  3. While caramel is melting, add chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk to a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring until melted together. Add vanilla and almonds and stir to combine.
  4. Add half the chocolate fudge mixture to the loaf pan (and then return the rest to the stovetop). Spread the mixture in the loaf pan and spread the melted caramel on the top. Give the fudge mixture that’s left in the pan a quick stir, then pour and spread over the top of the caramel. 
  5. Let sit for a few minutes on the counter; then transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely before cutting.

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