In the absence of popping corn (as in to make your own popcorn on the hob in a pan) in ALL the shops within reasonable walking distance I visited, I had to settle on fudge as the snack of choice for a Sunday film night. Me and my boyfriend went to watch Silver Linings Playbook – which, by the way, is in our humble opinions fantastic, and extremely well-acted – as it was showing at our university union for fewer pennies than you normally have to pay to see a film. I do love being a student sometimes. Well, most of the time, to be honest – the real world is hurtling towards me (or I suppose the other way round really) relentlessly now term has started, causing mild terror and an increasing sense of how lucky I am to be here surrounded by all these opportunities.
Speaking of which, I recently auditioned for the musical Spring Awakening, which is being put on by the university performing arts society, and made the chorus, plus I have a lovely little shared duet part so anyone reading this in the Sheffield area – look us up! Come and see it! Our first rehearsal was tonight and went swimmingly – honestly the drama lot are the most enthusiastic group of people you could ever wish to meet; we clapped at everything and generally had a ball. In short, it’s going to be fantastic! and will be playing a significant part in my life for the next 9 weeks, so was worth effusing about now.
Back to the fudge! The peanuts add a lovely crunch – I do like a good bit of texture in fudge to get your teeth into – but on the other hand, i have to say the texture isn’t world-class; mine at least haven’t set particularly well and have had to be kept in the fridge which shouldn’t be necessary. However, make it if you’re a fan of the old CRUNCHY, not smooth, peanut butter (again, smooth is an atrocity and crunchy is requisite for this recipe) whip these up – no baking required, in fact! – as they are so quick and tasty, and let me know how yours tuned out/suggest improvements 🙂 It is very indulgent and my decidedly un-sweet tooth has to be in the mood for these little sugary cubes, but fudge really hits the spot when you need it most.
- 125g real butter (I used unsalted but then had to add a pinch of salt at the end, so salted is probably a good shout depending on your tastes)
- 500g soft dark brown sugar
- 120ml milk
- seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 250g crunchy peanut butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 pinch of salt (if needed, to taste)
Step 1: Melt the butter slowly, over a lowish heat, in a saucepan big enough to hold the majority of the ingredients.
Step 2: Stir in the sugar, then milk until the mixture comes together and is a lovely dark brown syrupy colour.
Step 3: Take off the heat, and mix in the vanilla seeds and peanut butter, and salt if using.
Step 4: Pour the whole lot into a bowl on top of the icing sugar, and combine carefully (icing sugar puffs up at the slightest movement and settles over everything making for lots of wiping down surfaces afterwards) and thoroughly until there are no lumps/sticky scrapes of icing sugar left on the sides of the bowl. This is easier to make sure of if you use a clear glass mixing bowl, if you have one.
Step 5: Plonk the gooey fudge mix into a lined (i.e. with baking paper) tin – square is best, about 20cm across but if you have to use something smaller like I did, simply leave the fudge for longer to set in the fridge and cut the strips in half to get cubes, if you see what I mean. Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours, or as required, until it is set and you can cut it cleanly into pieces. Keep in airtight tupperware, probably also lined with baking paper so it doesn’t glue itself in.
Lovely stuff! Any sort of fudge would make a great Christmas gift (I know its WAY too early to think about that for most people, but for the forward-planners and scheduled organisers…) in a pretty box, and its easier to make in large batches – this recipe makes loads! And perhaps I will trek to bigger supermarket for popping corn for our next cinema date and try out some of the frankly irresistible popcorn recipes I’ve been checking out soon 🙂
Source: BBC Food, ‘Peanut butter fudge’ from The Delicious Miss Dahl.