Thursday, 16 August 2012

chocolate-pistachio fudge (and toffee)

look! it's chocolate-pistachio fudge!

Making candy is a science, and one that I believe can be more treacherous than baking, especially since you have to deal with that hot and bubbling molten sugar on the stove.

However, when I had a random craving for fudge one night, I just threw together a bunch of ingredients, then went for it, relying entirely on (very limited) experience, and visual cues.

Fortunately, miraculously, it turned out perfectly. This was most certainly a fluke, however, as subsequent attempts have yielded not just fudge, but also chewy and crunchy toffee, thanks to timing issues. Not that I'm complaining. Any kind of sweetly, deliciously edible outcome is hardly a terrible tragedy.

chocolate-pistachio toffee, aka not a terrible tragedy, aka a still-delicious accident.

If you've got your heart set on a particular type of treat, though, get thee to a candy thermometer, or just make sure you have a glass of icy-cold water and very deft reflexes! Also, lots and lots of practice.

This following recipe makes enough to fill a 20 cm / 8 inch square cake pan, but if you're not quite sure about making the commitment, if you just feel like some playful experimentation, reduce the amounts and use a proportionally smaller pan. I always make half a batch, but they're so addictive that I always wish I had made more. Tricky stuff, that.

chocolate-pistachio fudge (and toffee)

1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped, and, if you like, toasted for extra flavour
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt

Line a 20 cm / 8 inch square cake pan with non-stick baking paper or well-buttered foil. Sprinkle pistachios evenly across.
In a saucepan, preferably a heavy-bottomed one, combine sugar, butter, milk, cocoa powder and salt over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reaches 240°F / 115°C or until it forms a soft ball (sometimes mine are more like a teardrop or comet, but forms a ball easily when kneaded gently between the fingers) when a little of the mixture is dropped in cold water.
Remove from heat - at this point, if you can plunge the pan into a sink shallowly filled with cold water to stop the mixture from continuing to cook, that would be good. Allow to cool to 45°C or 110°F. Beat vigorously until mixture starts to lose its gloss, then pour into the prepared pan. I'd just like to say, though, that I've also done a successful shortcut in which after removing the saucepan from the heat source, I just beat the mixture for a few seconds and poured it merrily into the prepared pan, so who knows what makes it tick really.
Let the fudge set (mine usually takes a couple hours, but it depends on temperature, humidity, etc.) before cutting into pieces.

another shot of the pistachio chocolate fudge.

If you do cook the mixture way beyond the soft ball stage to make toffee, the cooling step should be omitted, and in fact, don't waste too much time before pouring it into the prepared pan, otherwise it will start setting in the saucepan itself. And we don't want that!

Here are the temperatures for making toffee:

Chewy toffee: Soft crack stage, 135°C or 270°F.
Crunchy Toffee: Hard crack stage, 150°C or 300°F.

Read more about candy stages here.

Other general notes:

To yield thinner candies, retain the amount of pistachios used, but slightly reduce the amounts of all the other ingredients so that there is less candy batter.

And of course, feel free to use other nuts as a substitute for the pistachios, if you like!

Finally, remember, you're making candy. It's not always easy, and you may not always get it right, but... you're making candy! Just be careful (and this is VERY important - be VERY careful), and enjoy the ride. I'm still learning through trial and error, and I don't know if I'll ever get it consistently perfect, but I'm having fun along the way.

another shot of the pistachio chocolate toffee.

39 comments:

  1. I wish when I just tried things out that they turned out like your fudge and toffee! You certainly have a way with sugar Leaf!

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  2. I love fudge! But I haven't made any in years, and I've never made anything other than plain chocolate (...as if chocolate could be plain).

    Fudge is the perfect winter treat, I think. As soon as cooler weather sets in here, I need to remedy my fudge-less-ness!

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    1. Totally. They set easier in cool weather, too, don't they. Good plan!

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  3. Oh, I've only ever made the kind of fudge that doesn't require a sugar thermometre/hard crack stage knowledge. But I do like me some pistachios! This looks glorious :)

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    1. Ah, the ones with choc chips and/or condensed milk? Yes, strange for me, actually, I normally prefer the easy way out but I've just always made fudge this trickier way. :p

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  4. Yum! Delicious looking little treats!

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  5. Pistachios are among my favourite nuts and these little toffee fudge squares look yummy!

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    1. I have to say pistachios go so well with fudge! :D

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  6. Oh... I will love to give this a go.

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  7. You are tempting me here with this as I have all the essentials in the pantry!

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  8. That sounds amazing and I love pistachios! WINNING! Shall try this

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  9. Brown sugar? Butter? Cocoa? Milk? What could go wrong, really? Sounds and looks sooo tempting.

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    1. Unless you burn the mixture, even when it goes wrong, it's still oh-so-right, as you can see! ;)

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  10. i have not ever made fudge, sounds tricky looks lovely :)

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    1. Correct on both counts! And worth trying I think. :)

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  11. Whoa, that's a pretty taste fluke :D

    I <3 pistachios though I've never tried using them in fudge/toffee before... there's a first for everything :D

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    1. Pistachios are so good in both fudge and toffee! I say this with authority as I've made and eaten batches of each... :p

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  12. That looks absolutely delightful! I have to try your lovely recipe :)Have a wonderful week ahead!

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    1. Thank you! Best wishes for your week ahead, too! :)

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  13. YAY leaf :) thank you for the recipe!! I've got all these ingredients at home and i LOVE Pistachio!! Thankssss can't wait try this out hehe

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    1. Let me know how you go if/when you try it! :)

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  14. I am a fudge fanatic. Love nothing better than getting my teeth stuck into a square, or half dozen. I've never ever made it. But you've certainly encouraged me to try. What better way to have your fudge, and eat it too! Excellent post. Made my day reading it.

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    1. Aw thanks! I do think it's worth trying this fudge recipe. I've not been unhappy with any of my results thus far, even when it's slightly overcooked and becomes toffee. ;)

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  15. Hi Leaf, it's India. I just wanted to thank you for your amazing fudge that you gave me. It was absolutely beautiful and I loved all the different flavours complimenting each other in a bite! I almost scoffed the lot, but decided to let my husband have some too! ;) As always, you amaze me with your talent.

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    1. India!!! So happy to hear from you. I was wondering if the fudge and toffee travelled well with you, glad you liked it! Hope you're enjoying your time in the UK and may we catch up again soon enough. xox

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  16. that brown and green looks heavenly together! what a gorgeous recipe

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  17. Fantastic! These remind me of the pistachio brownies I made with the extra creaminess of the fudge! YUM!!!

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    1. Oh, a brownie version of this would be awesome! :D

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  18. Hi I found your blog so interesting. It is so impressive. Do you have a perfect Holiday content that you would like to share with me? This year I will include links on Christmas recipes on my blog learn your Christmas carols. I only need your link back in your side bar or footer.You can tweet me at
    http://twitter.com/juliegallaher or email me at juliegallaher@gmail.com. Thanks!

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  19. Oh these look so naughty! And gluten free.....doesnt that mean I HAVE tomake them?

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  20. ahhhh fudge, love it! Can't wait to try this recipe, I've done Nigella's before and it made great xmas gifts :)

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    1. Yes! I gave this to some friends as gifts and they enjoyed it. :D

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