Scratch one more off the list of "to-dos." A real fudge, candy thermometer and all, is another recipe I have been putting off for far too long. Partially because you can only eat so much fudge, but also because I was a bit intimidated by it. I have read a few horror stories about fudge and how it can go wrong.
To set myself up for success I decided on an Alton Brown recipe since if there's one man who knows his cooking science, it's him. But of course, it wasn't enough of a gamble to make the fudge for Christmas, I had to go and play with the recipe too. Not in any significant way, rather instead of using peanuts for the add in, I thought it would be fantastic to add salty pretzels to break up the sweetness and richness of the fudge.
Now fudge is not one of those things that you can avoid making sweet. It's supposed to be sweet, and it was. Sweet and rich. But the pretzels helped to balance the sweet with salty, and the richness with their mild, light flavour. Unfortunately, the idea of having the pretzels create a variance in texture was a complete failure. Once again I was foiled by my own oversite. Without thinking, I bought pretzel sticks instead of the thicker traditional style pretzels. This coupled with the heat of the fudge caused the pretzels to become very soft. In fact, their texture was indistinguishable from the rest of the fudge. Though the rest of the fudge was soft, creamy, and smooth, so I wasn't complaining too much.
I had great results with everything for Christmas, but this fudge was probably the one thing that gave me no anxiety. And that should tell you something. However, a word of caution, as easy as this recipe is, it is quite a workout. I had to stir the thick fudge for eight minutes before it reached the matte texture required in the recipe. Granted even if it wasn't easy, it would have still been worth it. Bedsides it was Christmas, burning extra calories just means you can eat more :). (Didn't expect that one did you? :))
Chocolate Pretzel Fudge
Adapted from Alton BrownYields 64 1 inch pieces
4 oz unsweetened chocolate (114g)
2 3/4 cups sugar (350g)
1 cup half-and-half
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided in half (21g + 21g)
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups chopped pretzels (approx. 70g)**
Prepare an 8 inch square pan with foil and grease foil.
In a medium sauce pan add chocolate, sugar, half-and-half, corn syrup, and half the butter (1 1/2 tbsp).
Turn stove to medium and heat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until chocolate has melted.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Allow mixture to boil for 3 minutes.
Remove lid from pot and attach a candy thermometer. Continue to cook mixture until temperature reaches 234F.
Remove from heat and immediately add remaining butter to pot. Do not stir.
Allow to cool until temperature reaches 130F (the original recipe says this will take 10 minutes, it took much longer for me).
Add vanilla and stir with wooden spoon until the fudge is no longer shiny and takes on a matte texture. Note: For me this took 8 minutes of consistant stirring
Fold in pretzels.
Pour batter into prepared pan and allow to sit until firm.
**To try and retain the crunch, not only can you try to use a thicker pretzel but (as brought up in the comments) you might also want to try and freeze your pretzels first :)