Photo: Tara Fisher
Maple Pecan Fudge
Makes about 40 pieces
I love the slightly smoky, butterscotch taste that maple syrup brings to this rather indulgent fudge, elevating it to new heights of deliciousness. I’ve also taken the liberty of adding a splash of bourbon to this recipe, which I think makes it even more scrumptious. I prefer fudge to be on the creamy side, but if you are of the grainy persuasion, you may need to work a little harder, and for a little longer, when it comes to beating the cooled fudge to achieve the desired texture.
This recipe makes enough fudge to fill two gift boxes—assuming, of course, that you are not planning on eating it all yourself.
Sunflower oil, for greasing
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2⁄3 cup heavy cream
1⁄3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons bourbon or Jack Daniels
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 oz. unsalted butter
1 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
7-inch square baking pan
Grease the base and sides of the loaf pan with sunflower oil and line with nonstick parchment paper, and half fill the sink with cold water.
Combine all the ingredients apart from the butter and pecans in a large (2 1/2 quart), heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook gently over medium heat to dissolve the sugar, stirring frequently.
Pop the sugar thermometer into the pan, bring to a boil, and continue to steadily cook the syrup at a gentle boil until it reaches 237°F. You will need to stir the mixture frequently to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan. (The syrup will take about 15 minutes to reach the correct temperature, but do not be tempted to walk away from the task in hand—the moment you turn your back to do something else, the syrup will go over the correct temperature and you’ll end up with toffee rather than fudge.)
Take the pan off the heat, remove the sugar thermometer, and plunge the bottom of the pan into the sink of cold water to stop the mixture from cooking any more.
Add the butter, give the fudge a gentle stir, and scoop it into a large mixing bowl.
Leave undisturbed to cool to room temperature for about 15–20 minutes, without being tempted to stir or taste the cooling fudge.
Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, beat the fudge for 3–4 minutes until the mixture thickens, starts to lose its shine, and begins to turn slightly grainy. Add three-quarters of the chopped pecans and spoon the fudge into the prepared pan, spreading it into an even layer with an offset spatula. Scatter the remaining pecans over the top, pressing them into the fudge.
Leave to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight before cutting into squares to serve.
Store: This fudge will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container between layers of nonstick parchment paper or wax paper.
Excerpted from Sweet Things by Annie Rigg (Kyle Books, 2014).
Don’t stop at fudge!
What are your favorite holiday candies?