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Vanilla Fudge

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Introduction

For some reason this is known in the Antipodes (and I got this recipe from a Kiwi) as Russian Fudge and, although I like this name better, I feel that it perhaps leads the rest of us to expect something altogether more exotic, when this is the plain, comforting, yet temple-achingly sweet, confection of my childhood.

I confess that even listing the ingredients below makes me hyperventilate slightly. I am no stranger to excess, but even I baulk somewhat at the amount of sugar and so on needed. But it does make an awful lot of fudge: as you can see, my portion control is rather erratic, but I reckon you can get 77 pieces out of it. I also have to preface this recipe with a warning: fudge is not exactly difficult to make, but it is dangerous. Unless you proceed with caution you will burn your pan and yourself. Never leave the pot, and make sure there are no children nearby. Mobile telephones are banned for the duration, too.

You need to use your own instinct as to how long to cook the fudge. The recipe I was given indicated it took 20 minutes; my fudge was ready after 12. Just make sure you have a bowl of cold water nearby. Drop small amounts of the molten fudge into the water and if it sets (known as soft ball stage) it's ready. Or you can use a sugar thermometer, which will indicate 'soft-ball stage'. The final whisking is what turns what is a pan of toffee (though you could leave it like this if you want smooth fudge) into grainy texture traditional fudge - or what the Scots call Tablet - demands.

I highly recommend adding some sea salt flakes - I imagine two teaspoons should do it - but since I made this for my daughter (and children are nothing if not traditionalists) I didn't dare stray from convention.

For some reason this is known in the Antipodes (and I got this recipe from a Kiwi) as Russian Fudge and, although I like this name better, I feel that it perhaps leads the rest of us to expect something altogether more exotic, when this is the plain, comforting, yet temple-achingly sweet, confection of my childhood.

I confess that even listing the ingredients below makes me hyperventilate slightly. I am no stranger to excess, but even I baulk somewhat at the amount of sugar and so on needed. But it does make an awful lot of fudge: as you can see, my portion control is rather erratic, but I reckon you can get 77 pieces out of it. I also have to preface this recipe with a warning: fudge is not exactly difficult to make, but it is dangerous. Unless you proceed with caution you will burn your pan and yourself. Never leave the pot, and make sure there are no children nearby. Mobile telephones are banned for the duration, too.

You need to use your own instinct as to how long to cook the fudge. The recipe I was given indicated it took 20 minutes; my fudge was ready after 12. Just make sure you have a bowl of cold water nearby. Drop small amounts of the molten fudge into the water and if it sets (known as soft ball stage) it's ready. Or you can use a sugar thermometer, which will indicate 'soft-ball stage'. The final whisking is what turns what is a pan of toffee (though you could leave it like this if you want smooth fudge) into grainy texture traditional fudge - or what the Scots call Tablet - demands.

I highly recommend adding some sea salt flakes - I imagine two teaspoons should do it - but since I made this for my daughter (and children are nothing if not traditionalists) I didn't dare stray from convention.

Vanilla Fudge

Ingredients

Makes: approx. 77 pieces

Metric Cups
  • 250 grams soft butter
  • 1 x 397 grams can condensed milk
  • 175 millilitres milk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 800 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 sticks soft butter
  • 14 ounces can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or light corn syrup
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Method

  1. Fill a small bowl or jug with ice cold water and put near the stove. Grease a tin of approx. 30 x 20cm / 12 x 8 inch or 25cm / 10 inch square, or use a throwaway foil tin, as I have in the picture.
  2. Put all the ingredients, apart from the vanilla, into a large, heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Boil for 12-20 minutes, still stirring all the time, until the mixture is golden and, when a bit is dropped into the water, it turns solid but still squidgy, i.e., till soft-ball stage (see intro). How long this takes depends on how ferociously it bubbles as well as on the properties and dimensions of the pan. This is hot work!
  4. When the fudge is at soft-ball stage, very carefully remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Preferably using an electric whisk beat for about five minutes, by which time the fudge will have thickened to the texture of stiff peanut butter - this is quite steamy and strenuous - and pour and push into the prepared tin. Smooth the top as well as you can.
  6. Put in the fridge to cool, but don't keep it there for more than 2 hours, or it will set too hard, then remove and using a sharp knife, cut into squares. This is not a geometrically accurate term, as you can see from my cutting skills.
  1. Fill a small bowl or jug with ice cold water and put near the stove. Grease a tin of approx. 30 x 20cm / 12 x 8 inch or 25cm / 10 inch square, or use a throwaway foil tin, as I have in the picture.
  2. Put all the ingredients, apart from the vanilla, into a large, heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Boil for 12-20 minutes, still stirring all the time, until the mixture is golden and, when a bit is dropped into the water, it turns solid but still squidgy, i.e., till soft-ball stage (see intro). How long this takes depends on how ferociously it bubbles as well as on the properties and dimensions of the pan. This is hot work!
  4. When the fudge is at soft-ball stage, very carefully remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Preferably using an electric whisk beat for about five minutes, by which time the fudge will have thickened to the texture of stiff peanut butter - this is quite steamy and strenuous - and pour and push into the prepared tin. Smooth the top as well as you can.
  6. Put in the fridge to cool, but don't keep it there for more than 2 hours, or it will set too hard, then remove and using a sharp knife, cut into squares. This is not a geometrically accurate term, as you can see from my cutting skills.

Tell us what you think

What 20 Others have said

  • Just poured half the mixture out as soon as it reached 240 degrees Fahrenheit ,then beat the other half .........two for the price of one....delicious caramels and the best fudge ever!!

    Posted by Lillithjackie on 1st May 2016
  • Just made this! First time flawless and delicious, used hazelnut syrup and brown sugar (was all I had).

    Posted by HenryAte on 14th April 2016
  • WOWSERS!! Just gorgeous, everyone loves this fudge. it's the 1st time i have made fudge and this recipe is just perfect. Hubby is happy, are are happy, more than that i am over the moon. I read all the comments on the fudge and have now just tried the chocolate OMG amazing. Nigella you are amazing!!

    Posted by angelnature on 31st January 2016
  • The soft ball temperature is 116 degrees centigrade!

    Posted by Masurisana on 19th January 2016
  • I made this for friends this christmas . I must add that it really is superb. I added rum and raisin to one batch but didn't put enough rum in, only 2 teaspoons as I thought soaking the fruit first would be enough, clearly needs more. Going to try orange and cranberry next.

    Posted by Gnambler on 26th December 2015
  • It worked! Well the second time anyway. The first time I think I didn't get the temperature quite high enough. It set but not completely and was still pliable and soft. I melted it again, but this time I heated it a bit too long as after the beating it was so stiff I had to spoon it out into the tins. A bit grainy but absolutely delicious. I substituted the milk for Amarula! Yummy

    Posted by Yvandi on 18th December 2015
  • OH MY WORD!!! I MADE FUDGE!! This is an amazing recipe! I, like others have been searching for an easy fudge recipe without the use of sugar thermometers, for aaaaages. I whisked the fudge by hand for five minutes (elbow grease!!) and it has turned out perfect. Mine got to soft ball stage after 12 minutes. SO SO pleased- I MADE FUDGE!!!

    Posted by RockChickYummyMummy on 16th December 2015
  • I made Vanilla Fudge this afternoon with my daughter, not only does it taste delicious it's made the house smell gorgeous xx

    Posted by Jo Rogers on 13th December 2015
  • I've just made this with Lavender Sugar. I had only 600g of normal granulated sugar but found some with lavender in so the remaining 200g had lavender - Top flavour. I'm really pleased

    Posted by Toritots on 5th December 2015
  • I added brandy and pre soaked sultanas. Really good twist to a full proof recipe.

    Posted by jpenn on 7th November 2015
  • I love this recipe, it has never let me down. The last time I made it, I dropped a smashed up block of dark chocolate (100g) in the mix while I was beating it at the end - Chocolate fudge! It turned out beautifully.

    Posted by poptop on 28th September 2015
  • I made this fudge today as a little end of year present for my class. During the year we made a non-cook fudge, the recipe from Mary and it was horrible. So I thought I would try another recipe and frankly I couldn't have found a better one. This fudge is amazing- an easy to follow recipe, but it needs to be followed exactly. Tastes great, thank you so much!

    Posted by Patsycle on 19th July 2015
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