Velvety, light brown, sweet, rigid, and soft. For some, it is a curse for teeth and figures. For others, it is a godsend – fudge. Readily available in Great Britain, although it is unknown in this country. Because even if this idiosyncratic country is not known for its good weather, one should not forget its sweet sides. A small piece of sugar-sweet coffee to take away and distribute based on a soft caramel. Because fudge, like toffee, is a kind of caramel. But what is the difference? How British is it? How can you make it yourself, and how does coffee come into play?
FUDGE – NO TOFFEE? AND WHAT DOES IT MATTER?
Caramel is divided into two basic categories: hard and soft caramel. Hard caramel includes, for example, sweets, while soft caramel comprises, for example, toffee and fudge. Both are types of soft caramel. The difference lies both in the list of ingredients and in how they are made. While toffee only consists of butter and sugar, in addition to butter and sugar, milk or, optionally, the cream is added to the fudge. To make toffee, the butter-sugar mass is heated to between 149 ° C and 154 ° C, while fudge does not exceed 118 ° C. This makes the British caramel softer than the relatively hard toffee in the end.
But to make things a little more complicated: Fudge is not just fudge. According to legend, fudge (literally “forgery, cheating”) was probably invented in the USA through a mistake (hence the name). Despite its origins, it is nowadays also often associated with our British neighbors because the tradition of fudge-making is widespread and slightly different from region to region. In general, however, British and American fudge can be distinguished in terms of consistency: while the American version is soft, the British version appears comparatively firm.
MELTED SUGAR, GOLDEN YELLOW BUTTER, CREAMY CREAM, AND STRONG ESPRESSO
But one after the other. The word caramel was derived from the Latin “calamitous” (tube “) and French “caramel” or Spanish “caramel” (“sugar cane / burnt sugar”). Basically, the original caramel consists only of sugar. This is heated dry until it melts and takes on a brown color, “caramelized.” This leads to changes in the sugar molecule. It is converted into various compounds and broken down. These are responsible for the typical color, taste, and smell of caramel.
This caramel is mixed with butter, milk, or cream, depending on the purpose and preferences. In addition to caramelizing, this also leads to the so-called Maillard reaction. This is also a non-enzymatic reaction between carbohydrates and proteins, which are in the milk/cream or butter. Here, too, brown color and aroma are created. The Maillard reaction also takes place during coffee roasting, which is why characterful espresso underlines the notes of caramel excellently.
In summary, various types of caramel taste particularly good with coffee and espresso: hard candy, sticky toffee, soft fudge, and liquid syrup.
BUT ENOUGH THEORY – A RECIPE WITH ESPRESSO IS NEEDED!
- 400 g of sugar
- 250 ml of cream
- 80 g butter
- 1 – 2 cups of espresso (30-60 ml)
- Line a rectangular shape with parchment paper.
- Prepare the espresso. Depending on how strong the fudge should taste after coffee, use 30 – 60 ml (1 – 2 cups) espresso. An espresso with notes of caramel and chocolate is particularly suitable for this.
- Put the sugar, cream, and butter in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the espresso. Stir constantly and check the temperature with a thermometer.
- At 118 ° C, take the pan off the stove and let it cool down a little, approx. Five minutes or until the mixture has reached 110 ° C.
- Now beat the mass with a hand mixer until it loses its shine and the consistency is firmer and creamier. As soon as it looks more like a batter with too little liquid, the mixture is ready.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared mold and let it cool down for about 3 hours at room temperature.
- Cut the fudge into small pieces and wrap up nicely if necessary.
Tips and Tricks
- Put everything you need out beforehand, as cooking fudge requires concentration, and everything can suddenly go relatively quickly towards the end.
- For the espresso, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the version from the portafilter machine. For example, I used a Bialetti and cooked my espresso on the hotplate next to the fudge.
- When choosing a pot, a pot that is not too small should be selected, as the sugar mass “bubbles” a lot. Furthermore, nothing should spurt out when you hit it afterward.
- Do not be surprised if the sugar mass sticks for a while at around 100 – 105 ° C and does not get hotter, although it is constantly supplying heat. Since the different ingredients have different boiling temperatures, and the water is around 100 ° C, you have to wait until enough water has evaporated before the temperature can rise further. (This can take up to half an hour).
- No sugar thermometer at hand? No problem either. To determine if the sugar mass is already at the right temperature, a little of the group can be placed in a bowl of cold water. If it can be easily shaped into a ball in the water but loses its shape a little outside, the correct temperature has been reached.
- And last but not least: don’t lose your nerve! Everything will be fine, and if it doesn’t work 100% the first time, it doesn’t matter. Fudge that is too soft or too hard will also taste good.
ESPRESSO AND FUDGE ARE A STRONG TEAM
The soft caramel notes of the fudge and the roasted aromas of the espresso harmonize very well, as the Maillard reaction also takes place when the coffee bean is roasted – but much more pronounced than in the fudge due to the much higher temperatures.
- Fudge and toffee are both types of soft caramel
- Caramel originally only consisted of sugar
- Toffee is made from sugar and butter
- Fudge consists of sugar, butter, and milk or optionally cream
- Fudge was invented in the United States
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