A thousand ways... Ok, we confess. There is not any way to list a thousand recipes for chocolate fudge in so small a space. So, a couple of the outstanding ones will do for now. German chocolate fudge is one of the best by most accounts, and for good reason. Simple to make and a big crowd pleaser.
Melt the German chocolate by heating water in a double boiler. As the water temperature reaches about 100°F (37.8°C) slide the chocolate bar onto the top section and swirl until it's very gooey. Then sprinkle on the semisweet chocolate chips and repeat.
In a sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat then pour on the chocolate mixture and immediately pour on the sugar and evaporated milk. Stir well but gently and boil the mixture for about 5 minutes.
At this stage you can add in the nuts, if desired. Boiling the walnuts for several minutes can bring out undesirable flavors, so add them only at the end.
Pour the liquid into a 9 inch by 13 inch pan that's been sprayed lightly with no-stick olive or canola oil. Allow to cool for a couple of hours at room temperature. Then cut into squares.
To cool the fudge faster, you can put it into the refrigerator for half an hour after it's been at room temperature for half an hour. Take it out when it's firm to the touch.
But take care. Cooling it too quickly or too much will condense the sugar crystals, leading to a fudge that is rough and too sweet in spots. That spoils the consistency and makes for an uneven taste.
For a delicious variation, add a bit of vanilla extract at the end. After the liquid has cooled to a semi-hard state, ladle out a cup of melted marshmallow creme on top. Spread the marshmallow around with a rubber cake spatula, making a nice design.
A nice variation involves making a mixture of chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge. Both types are enjoyed by just about everyone and combining them makes for a double treat.
Just add about a 1/2 cup of softened peanut butter to the liquid about 1 minute before it's done boiling. The peanut butter can be softened by spending about 10 seconds in the microwave or by sitting in the sun on the window sill for a few minutes on a hot day.
Blend the mixture together, but not completely, leaving a swirled appearance. That makes chocolate and peanut butter ribbons that melt in the mouth. Yum!
To give your fudge a very distinctive and unique taste, you can add a teaspoon of brandy or rum to the chocolate liquid after removing it from the heat. Blend in well and when the fudge hardens you'll have a hint, but not an overwhelming taste, that enhances the final result.
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