Spiced fudge

Fudge is a special gift to give at Christmas especially if it is homemade. This is my version which is infused with all the spices that remind me of Christmas – cinnamon, oranges, mixed spice and dried fruit.

Important features of fudge – always heat and cool to the given temperatures to avoid non setting or sticky fudge and beat hard to cool the fudge to ensure that you get a smooth texture. The secret to good fudge is small sugar crystals and that comes from allot of elbow grease. If you don’t beat it enough you get large air bubbles which means you don’t get that melt in the mouth texture.

Cut into squares and wrapped in Christmas  presentation bags tied with a ribbon it is a beautiful gift.

Ingredients
100g butter
350g sugar ( I prefer soft light brown for flavour but you can use caster)
300ml single cream
1 tsp vanilla extract (not essence)
0.5 tsp mixed spice
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 desert spoon orange wine/liqueur/brandy
40g raisins or other dried fruit

You will need a 18 cm x 18cm square cake tin lined with greaseproof paper

Method
Put the raisins in a small bowl and tip over the wine/liquer and leave to soak for as long as possible – at least 30 mins.
Put the cream, butter,sugar and spices into a tall saucepan and heat on medium, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Put a sugar thermometer (or I use a spatula that has a theremoter inside it) into the pan, raise the heat and cook string frequently until the mixture reaches 116c (this can take 10 – 15 mins).
Remove from the heat and leave untouched with the thermometer still in it until it cools to 110c.
Stir in the vanilla and the raisins.
Then beat vigourously until the mixture cools to 60c – this can take 10 mins or more and its hard work if you don’t want to get those nasty big crytsals in it.
Once it has cooled keep beating until it loses its shine and is really thick.
Pour into the prepared tin, level out by moving the tin around to get a nice flat surface.
Leave on one side (not in the fridge) to cool, preferably overnight.
Remove from the tin, using the paper as a lever.
Cut into small squares and wrap in a presentation bag if you like.

This will keep in a cool place for around 2 weeks, but is best made as close to the time you want it as possible.

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