I think my biggest sweet-treat-weakness would be fudge. Or maybe chocolate raisins, but probably fudge. I remember buying little bags of it on holiday in Cornwall and Devon savouring it piece by piece. Even now, my parents buy me a box of the crumbly fudge for my birthday. It's just a weakness.
I was in Lakeland a while back and saw a sugar thermometer - I've always wanted to try making fudge or caramel so I bought it, but it took me a while to get around to making it, but I finally have and I am in love with fudge all over again. Just looking at the photos, my mouth is watering all over again. I really want to try out some different flavours - perhaps peanut butter or chocolate? Anyway, if you know me in person, you'll probably be getting this as a present sometime in the future!
So I combined two recipes to make this - the main fudge is from the Carnation milk website, with the amount of salt that the Cornish sea-salt site says is good. I didn't want the fudge super-salty, just enough to make the sweetness balance out.
1 tin condensed milks (396g tin)
150ml semi-skimmed milk
450g demerara sugar
115g salted butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp of sea-salt (I used Maldon sea-salt flakes, because they're really good)
(A bit of extra sea-salt to sprinkle on top whilst it was solidifying)
1. Line a roughly 20cm squared tin or bowl with baking parchment.
2. In a deep, heavy duty pan (I used my mums jam making saucepan, as the mixture bubbles up quite a bit) combined the condensed milk, regular milk, sugar and stir on a low heat until it is all dissolved and combined.
3. Bring to the boil and simmer on a low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously, otherwise it sticks to the bottom of the pan and burns, which spoils the fudge.
4. The next bit is when the thermometer comes in useful - I boiled mine until it said "soft ball" on the thermometer, which is about 235F or 113C. How you can tell it's done if you haven't got one, is by dropping a small amount of it into a jar of cold water, if it forms a small ball and doesn't disintegrate in the water, you know it's done.
5. Stir in the 1 1/2 tsp of salt and the vanilla extract and remove from the heat immediately. Now you need to start beating the fudge as much as possible. Me and my mum took it in turns to do this because it needs to be stirred constantly for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and a little bit grainy, however if you over mix it, you'll be able to feel it is rough on the bottom of the pan.
6. Pour into lined tin and smooth with a spatula, and use the last of the salt to sprinkle on the top whilst it is still cooling and solidifying. Once it had cooled a bit, I put it into the fridge for a bit, so it was easy to cut up.
Just as a warning, this makes a lot, so be prepared to have a lot of fudge on your hands. No-one else in my family really likes fudge, so I just have a huge tub in my kitchen.. What a shame..
Let me know if you try this out!