Last Christmas I set out to write a proper fudge recipe that cooked the fudge mixture to just the right temperature on a candy thermometer. I kept ruining it, plus it was a pain to make, so now I do myself a favor and use this easy method. Heat sweetened condensed milk, bittersweet chocolate, and espresso powder on the stovetop until the chocolate has melted, then stir in vanilla extract. Smooth the mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking pan and let it set up. Slice into squares and serve with other easy-to-make sweets on a Christmas cookie plate. It may not be “real” fudge, but it tastes just as good!
- Yield: 64 (1-inch) squares
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 45 mins, plus at least 6 hrs setting time
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon flaky finishing salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel
- Cut a 16-inch-long piece of parchment paper and fold over the edges so it measures 8 inches wide. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with the parchment, seam-side down (the 2 long ends will hang over the edges). Be sure to fit the parchment as smoothly as possible into the dish, snugly creasing it into the corners; set the pan aside.
- Place the milk, chocolate, espresso powder, and fine salt in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth, about 15 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.
- Immediately pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the flaky salt. Place the pan on a wire rack and let it cool at room temperature until the fudge is set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- To remove the fudge from the pan, run a knife along the 2 exposed edges. Grip the parchment hanging over the edges and pull it out of the dish. Transfer the fudge to a cutting board, remove the parchment, and discard it. Hold a long, sharp knife under hot running water, wipe with a towel, and slice the fudge, repeating heating and wiping the knife after every slice until you have 64 (1-inch) pieces. The fudge can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.