Oh, f—-! We wanted to share delicious holiday fudge with you. Instead, we need therapy. And a crime scene cleanup crew. Paging the Byrd Brothers! Recipe: Chocolate Fudge.
Adapted from Truffles, Candies, and Confections, by Carole Bloom
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup half-and-half
Pinch of salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil that extends over the sides. Coat the foil with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Set aside.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, cook the sugar, corn syrup, half-and-half, and salt until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in warm water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the chocolate in 3 or 4 batches, until completely melted and smooth. Return the pan to medium heat. Place a candy thermometer in the pan, and cook WITHOUT stirring until it registers 238 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer. (This may take as long as 20 minutes.)
Remove the pan from the heat, remove the thermometer from the pan, and place the thermometer in warm water to cool. Quickly sprinkle a rimmed baking sheet or a large marble board (at least 14 × 18 inches) with cold water, and immediately pour the hot mixture onto the baking sheet or marble. Do not scrape out the bottom of the pan. Dot the surface of the mixture with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Let the mixture cool until it registers 110 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer (about 5 to 15 minutes, depending on whether you use a baking sheet or marble).
Scrape the cooled mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the vanilla, and with the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until it thickens and loses its shine (5 to 10 minutes). (Alternatively, you can beat the mixture by hand with a sturdy wooden spoon; it will take longer.) Turn the fudge into the prepared pan. Dampen your hands and use your fingertips to even the top and to press the fudge completely into the corners of the pan. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let it set completely at room temperature (1 to 2 hours).
Remove the fudge from the pan by lifting out the aluminum foil. With a large chef’s knife, cut the fudge evenly into 1-inch squares. Between layers of waxed paper in a tightly covered container, fudge will keep for 10 days at room temperature or 1 month in the refrigerator. Fudge is best served at room temperature.
Yield: 64 pieces
“Muffin” is not just a euphemism for cake. We’ve got bananas and blueberries on the brain, along with bran, gingerbread, and poppyseed. Recipes: Blueberry muffins; banana muffins. www.spilledmilkpodcast.com
Molly’s blueberry muffins come from Ruth Reichl’s blog.
Adapted from The Quick Recipe, Cook’s Illustrated
10 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
7 ounces (1 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table sat
13 ounces mashed very ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
3 ounces (1/3 cup) buttermilk
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray. (I like Baker’s Joy or another spray with flour in it.)
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together the mashed banana, butter, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl. (I like to mash the banana in a large bowl and then stir in the rest of the wet ingredients.) Add the dry ingredients and fold in gently until just combined.
3. Drop the batter into the muffin tin cups and bake until you get a nice brown ring around the edge of the each muffin top, about 22 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and serve warm.
Yield: 12 muffins