After much thought, I’d decided that if you want to ship me a box of goodies this year, this coffee and toasted almond fudge is what I’d most like to receive.
I had a lot of fun rounding up recipes and tips for today’s lead story on how to pack and ship your holiday treats, and though I’m still getting phone calls about how good my sister’s World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies are, all I want for Christmas — besides the “Nashville” soundtrack and a plane ticket to Barcelona — is a batch of these to show up on my doorstep.
Coffee and Toasted Almond Fudge
I love this rich fudge, with its slightly burnt toffee flavor and distinct coffee hit. If you can get your hands on some good-quality coffee extract, you could use that in place of instant espresso powder. Extracts vary in intensity from brand to brand, so build up the flavor gradually until you reach the required flavor. The small amount of chocolate in this fudge is there just to give the coffee a little extra oomph rather than to make a full-on chocolate statement. This fudge will keep for about 1 week in an airtight container in between layers of wax paper or nonstick parchment paper.
— Annie Rigg
Sunflower oil, for greasing
2 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp. corn syrup
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cinnamon stick pinch of salt
3 to 4 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 oz. dark chocolate (optional)
2 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds, toasted
Grease the pan with sunflower oil and line with nonstick parchment paper. Place both the sugars, the corn syrup, evaporated milk, whole milk, cinnamon stick and salt in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over low heat to dissolve the sugar, stir until smooth, and bring to just below boiling point.
Pop the sugar thermometer into the pan and bring to a boil. Cook the mixture gently and steadily, stirring from time to time with a heatproof rubber spatula, until it reaches 237 degrees on the sugar thermometer. Remove the cinnamon stick using either a pair of tongs or a fork.
Meanwhile, dissolve the espresso powder in 1 to 2 teaspoons boiling water, finely chop the chocolate, if using, and dice the butter. Add these to the hot fudge mixture, stir until smooth, and return the pan to the heat. Bring the fudge back to 233 to 237 degrees and then immediately remove from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.
Leave the fudge, undisturbed, to cool for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the fudge until it thickens and loses its glossy sheen. Add the almonds and stir to combine. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread level with an offset spatula. Leave to cool completely and then cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight before cutting into squares to serve. Makes about 50 pieces.
— From “Sweet Things: Chocolate, Candies, Caramels & Marshmallows to Make & Give” by Annie Rigg (Kyle Books, $24.95)