Spoiler alert!!!! Friends and family are warned that what you read in this section may well end up under your tree so if you don’t like to know what’s coming, come back here in January.
Chocolate and ginger always strikes me as a Christmassy combination, from memory rather than any great tradition I think. My mum loves stem ginger and those sticky, decadent little lumps of dark chocolate smothered crystallised ginger pieces were always somewhere in the yuletide sweetie stash. Also in more recent years I’ve taken to sending my grandmother some dark chocolate ginger thins at Christmas as she too is fond of them and they post easily and don’t mess too much with her diabetes. Recent blurb from the beeb has highlighted how much of our festive season traditions are run by the women, maybe this is why I’ve taken on this matriarchal fondness for them. Maybe it’s just a good combo, which is why I decided to try it for a new menu item in my edible gift stash for this year.
Please forgive the mixed measuring units, I’ve cobbled this together from various other recipes.
Chocolate & Ginger Fudge
Makes about 45 chunky pieces
200g dark chocolate
397g can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tightly packed cup brown sugar (about 230g)
100g unsalted butter
Preserved stem ginger
Although simple, this is a fast recipe that you can’t afford to hang about on so to start off you need to have everything prepared- so that’s your butter chopped into cubes, your chocolate broken into bits, your tin of condensed milk open, your sugar measured out and your ginger finely sliced. I’m a big fan of ginger as a flavour and use two one inch pieces of stem ginger for this quantity- you may wish to in/decrease this. Also please don’t be tempted to mega cheap chocolate for this, it really is the star flavour. Sainsbury’s Belgian dark chocolate for baking is perfect.
Line a high edged cake or loaf tin with baking parchment and keep it close by! In a medium sized, heavy bottomed pan melt the butter on a low heat. When completely melted, add in the condensed milk and stir to combine before adding the sugar and again mixing thoroughly. If you have a silicon backed spoon I would recommend it for this recipe, try to stir it more or less constantly as the milk is prone to burning if you let it sit for too long. Turn the heat up to dissolve the sugar then let the fudge very gently bubble (you don’t want a full rolling boil) for two minutes, still stirring to avoid the milk burning. No, it doesn’t look or smell very attractive at this stage I’m afraid!
Now take it off the heat and drop in all of the chocolate and continue to stir briskly until the chocolate melts. Once fully melted and mixed in (yes, keep stirring!) return to and turn up the heat enough to simmer then take the pan off the heat immediately. Throw in the chopped ginger, stir well, then dump it all into your lined tin. It will start to set quite quickly so don’t hang about here. Also when you stop stirring at this point the heat will start to turn your fudge to a very hard and not very nice solid toffee on the bottom of the pan- you want it out of there straight away.
This is a soft, squidgy kind of fudge and I’m sorry to say it will need to set over night (an hour on the side to get to room temp then cover and into the fridge). Once it’s a nice solid chocolatey brick, turn out and chop with a sharp knife and transfer to an air tight container. It will keep for longer than you are able to resist eating it, don’t worry!
Variations: Multiple and all good! Heavenly with chopped glacé cherries or bashed up walnuts or pecans instead of the ginger. For a prettier fudge try sprinkling over some dessicated coconut, crushed pistachios or even chocolate chips for the true chocaholic. You can add about half a tablespoon of peppermint essence instead of the ginger for a mint version or just make it plain with chocolate- a nice effect is to line the bottom of the pan with some brightly coloured sugar sprinkles then cover the top also when it has gone in to set.