Grandma’s Chocolate Fudge

Grandma's Chocolate Fudge {{Baking Bytes}}

As we carry on through December, I imagine many people are working on finding holiday gifts. Food is a great gift, especially for people you don’t know very well or just want to give a small token of appreciation (teachers, coworkers, etc). My mom and I often prepared small bags of almond roca or other goodies for my teachers all through middle school, and she still prepares platters of almond roca, spritz, clothespin cookies, or other treats for family friends and business associates.

Grandma's Chocolate Fudge {{Baking Bytes}}

My grandma always made this fudge every Christmas, although she also always put walnuts in it. Delicious chocolatey fudge surrounding silly crunchy walnuts. Clearly I don’t care for nuts in fudge (or really much of anything besides almond roca) and so I have omitted them from this recipe. Feel free to add them back in if that’s your style.

Grandma's Chocolate Fudge {{Baking Bytes}}

Fudge seems to go over well with most people and so is routinely included in our line-up. This recipe is based off my grandmother’s recipe, as is probably obvious by the name. It has taken a little bit of research to get it right as the her recipe specified two packages of this and a package of that, and the size of “packages” have changed quite drastically over the last few decades. Nonetheless, we prevailed and have come up with the one below.

Grandma's Chocolate Fudge {{Baking Bytes}}

Last year we hand-stirred the recipe, as is tradition, and not only was it an immense amount of work but we had to enlist my dad to finish the job. We have changed the proportions a bit so it might be manageable for one of less than Herculean arm strength, but in spite of that I still opted to use my stand mixer. It worked beautifully and is much, much less effort to get that velvety chocolate experience you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a workout while you make piles of decadent treats this season, feel free to stir by hand.

Grandma's Chocolate Fudge {{Baking Bytes}}

Grandma also used margarine instead of butter, I imagine largely because it was cheaper. I’ve made it both ways and honestly I can’t much tell the difference with regards to flavor, but the batch made with margarine turned out a decent amount softer. I imagine this is mostly because margarine has a lower melting temperature, but beating in an extra couple minutes could help too. I personally don’t like a sticky fudge so I put that batch in the freezer, which makes it perfect in my mind. Choose your own adventure here, or just use whatever you have on hand – it’ll be delicious regardless.

Grandma’s Chocolate Fudge

Adapted from my grandmother’s recipe
Makes a lot

Ingredients

2 cups chocolate chips
2 sticks (1 cup total) salted butter, each cut into fourths
20 large marshmallows
2 T vanilla

4 cups sugar
12 oz can evaporated milk

Directions

  1. Line a baking dish or lipped cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.2
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add chocolate chips, margarine or butter, marshmallows, and vanilla1. Set aside. You must do this before boiling the milk otherwise it’ll cool down too much and won’t mix completely.
  3. In a medium-large saucepan, whisk together sugar and evaporated milk (make sure you have a fair amount of extra space, it’ll grow).
  4. Over medium-high heat, bring milk mixture to full rolling boil, stirring often.
  5. Continue to boil for 6 minutes (I recommend setting a timer), stirring constantly.
  6. Add hot milk mixture to remaining ingredients (don’t scrape the pot too vigorously or you will end up with sugar crystals in your fudge), and beat on low with the normal beater attachment (or by hand) for at least 5 minutes (again, set a timer), until marshmallows are completely dissolved. Scrape sides every minute or two during this time to ensure an even mix.
  7. Pour into foil-lined pan, smooth out the top, and let cool completely. An unheated garage or porch if you don’t have fridge space is great for speeding up this process.
  8. Remove from foil and cut into cubes. I suggest moving it to a cutting board or you will have many small squares of foil to peel off later.
  9. Package as desired and give as much of it away as possible so you don’t eat it all.

Notes

If you like, you can add up to two cups chopped nuts or hard candy. Personally I do not like uneven texture in fudge or baked goods, but it’s certainly an option if you’re into it.

I like to use a cookie sheet so the fudge is a little thinner, but either will work. It may not fill a whole sheet so line it with foil and make a new edge about halfway, making sure you have extra foil sticking up. After you pour it in and start to spread it, you can adjust the edge to hold more or less fudge as necessary to keep it the right thickness.

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Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

Today’s recipe is inspired by Costco. Costco is one of my favorite stores to peruse because they have awesome stuff in all categories from housewares to clothing to food. The samples are also a pretty fantastic perk, although M and I don’t often go to Costco during sample time so we can avoid the crowds. A few weeks ago I made a quick stop in the afternoon to pick up one of the fake orchids they have (which I’m still psyched about) and made the sample rounds while I was there. One of the things I came across was roasted cinnamon sugar almonds.

Normally I’m not a big nut person (the notable exception being almond roca) but I thought I’d give these a try on a whim, and holy crap they are amazing. To be fair, I’m pretty sure they are like 75% sugar so basically it’s cinnamon almond candy, but nonetheless they were fantastic. It gave me the idea to make my own, less candy-like version at home.

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds {{Baking Bytes}}

Doing my usual Pinterest perusal came up with mostly very similar recipes, which I modified to fit my own needs. I wasn’t really looking for a sugary snack this time around, but if you’re wanting a sweeter recipe, like for holiday gifts, I give a range of sugar amounts in my notes below the recipe.

Crunchy roasted almonds coated with cinnamon and sugar are a high-protein and tasty option for any time of day. Make them without sugar for a healthy snack, or add the sugar for a sweet treat. I personally like both options, although the latter is probably more of a crowd pleaser. (They also turn out shinier, and ergo prettier, like the ones pictured.)

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds {{Baking Bytes}}

They do take a while to bake, but the process is pretty low maintenance and makes your house smell lovely. You could also definitely make two batches at a time if you have two lipped cookie sheets – the almonds will keep for at least a couple of weeks.

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

Adapted from the Internet
Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

1 egg white
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp cinnamon
up to 1/2 cup brown sugar, to taste

4 cups raw almonds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an edged baking sheet with a silicon mat (or parchment paper) and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except almonds.
  3. Add almonds, and stir until they are well coated with the cinnamon mixture.
  4. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet. It’s okay if they touch but you don’t want a pile.
  5. Bake for 60-90 minutes, stirring them once or twice. I like mine more roasted so I went closer to 90 minutes, but they are great after an hour also. Give one a taste (carefully) and see what you think.
  6. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Notes

Using no sugar is still delicious and a healthier treat, or 1/4 cup gives a relatively mild sweet flavor. If you’re looking for something really sugary (more along the lines of Costco’s version), add up to 1/2 cup of sugar, feeling free to use up to half white sugar if you prefer.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae

Oh yeah, you read that title right. Irish Car Bomb Sundae. Mixing alcohol and ice cream like a pro. If you’ve been reading awhile, you know that alcoholic ice cream isn’t a new thing here (Baileys and chocolate ‎Kahlúa have both made appearances) but this, this takes it to a whole new level. Note: if you don’t want the whole back story, skip the next four paragraphs.

Whilst planning my baking adventures Sunday morning, I realized we were getting quite close to St. Patrick’s Day. And due to this planning fail, I also realized yesterday was my last usual posting day before the holiday. The mint brownies I had planned would work, true, but I wanted something a bit more festive, a bit less overdone. In my head, Guinness is the most quintessential St. Patty’s Day beverage, making the Irish Car Bomb the most quintessential (although not very politically correct) cocktail of the day. Personally I’m not a fan of Guinness, and anything that curdles while you’re drinking just sounds like a terrible idea, but I’d seen ICB-inspired desserts before that sounded awesome, like cake and donuts. That’s when it hit me: ice cream!

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Two years ago a delightful coworker and friend made the team Guinness chocolate milkshakes. (At work. Before 11am. It was awesome.) Even as someone who doesn’t care for Guinness, I found them delicious. And so, the chocolate ICB sundae began to take shape. Guinness chocolate ice cream, of course, Baileys whipped cream, of course, but how to work in the whiskey? It was a terrible dilemma to be sure. Coincidentally, an entirely different friend posted recently about making whiskey dulce de leche. Whiskey caramel it is!

Whiskey Caramel Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Unfortunately, it was after 11am on Sunday when I had this revelation and so there was not enough time to create this concoction before my usual Monday post schedule. Be that as it may, I made the brownies, walked to the store for Guinness (twice, due to forgetting my ID the first time), and began the journey towards bliss.

Modifying my chocolate ice cream recipe was easy enough, so I got that into the freezer between brownie layers and cleaning and searching for whiskey caramel recipes. Having never actually made caramel before I was a bit nervous, but figured now was as good a time as any to give it a try. After finding a recipe and checking my cupboards for the ingredients (we only had Scottish whisky but…shhh. I’m sorry Colby.), I filed it away to make the next day. Normally I rarely do blog things after work, because I’m tired and hungry and just generally more of a mid-afternoon baker. However, my sheer excitement about this recipe resulted not only in making the remaining layers, but photographing everything and writing this post all in the same evening. Phew. But it’s worth it, oh so worth it.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Smooth and creamy chocolate ice cream accented by the unmistakable flavor of Guinness beer, topped with a relatively light Baileys whipped cream, and drizzled with a caramel brilliantly highlighted with whiskey. None of the flavors are individually overwhelming and they all combine together in sundae perfection. Not a dessert for the fainthearted, a small portion goes a long way. I wouldn’t personally eat the amount shown in my photos, for what it’s worth.

All three recipes are easy-peasy and come together quickly, minus chilling time. Very beginner friendly but fun for an experienced cook as well, and also extremely delicious. Which, let’s face it, that’s really the important aspect here. They are also easy to adjust to taste. Feel free to adjust the cocoa powder or Guinness a bit, and use more or less Baileys in the whipped cream. I can’t vouch for how adjusting the whiskey in the caramel would work, but I expect it would be just fine to add a little more or less. It is not super pronounced, which I felt was perfect. I made only a half batch of the original caramel recipe, so double mine if you want lots of leftovers or you’re feeding a crowd.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Need I say more? Really, the photos speak for themselves. I’m not even sure why you’re still reading instead of out shopping for ingredients.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re looking to impress yourself (or I guess some other people) for a St. Patrick’s Day party this year, look no further. Below, find the recipes for Guinness chocolate ice cream, Baileys whipped cream, whiskey caramel sauce, and instructions for the Irish Car Bomb sundae. Make one, make them all. Anything here is a great addition to any evening, but the trifecta is sure to wow.

And if you’re curious, the mint brownies will be up here next Monday, March 16th.

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Guinness beer
1/2 cup half & half
1 cup sugar
1/4 – 1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined and smooth.
  2. Place mixture in the fridge until completely chilled (temp should be less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  3. Chill a glass or other freezer-safe, lidded bowl in the freezer while you churn the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  4. Transfer ice cream to bowl and return to the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving. (Freezer time is not optional with this recipe.)

Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Baileys Whipped Cream

Adapted from The Cupcake Project
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Baileys Irish cream liqueur

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer (whisk attachment for a stand mixer) beat the cream and sugar until very soft peaks form.
  2. Gently stir in the Baileys until just incorporated.
  3. Continue beating the cream until soft-medium peaks form (or whatever consistency you like).
  4. Serve immediately, storing leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Whiskey Caramel Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Borrowed from Epicurious
Makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp Irish whiskey
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a small or medium heavy saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Boil without stirring until syrup begins to look golden, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until color deepens to a rich caramel color. (It make crystallize somewhat during steps 2-3, that’s normal.)
  4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Mixture will splatter so be careful! If the caramel has hardened, return to heat briefly.
  5. Stir caramel until it is smooth and of even color, allowing to cool for a few minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave in very small time increments – it is quick to boil over.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae

Ingredients

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream
Baileys Whipped Cream
Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. Swirl caramel sauce on the inside of a glass or bowl. (optional)
  2. Scoop in desired amount of ice cream, top with whipped cream, and swirl additional caramel sauce over the whole shebang.
  3. Enjoy immediately and try not to enter a sugar coma.

Peanut Butter Oreo Overload Brownies

Phew. Okay kids, I promised you sugar and here it is. All of it. So much.

The other week Pinterest lit up with these brownie Oreo peanut butter cupcake delights. The ones I happened across didn’t lead to a recipe, but it looked pretty straightforward. All I needed was a reason to make them because I certainly wasn’t going to eat 18 of these babies. Luckily, my work had a charity bake sale and these immediately came to mind as something I could donate.

Peanut Butter Oreo Overload Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}

Due to the brownie mix (which is one of the few things I’m okay using a mix for), these come together simply with relatively little time commitment and are easy to transport for parties. But let me warn you, they are rich! I am not normally one of those people who thinks thing are too sweet (I can eat chocolate pudding pie for daaaays) but these take it to a whole new level. I also don’t typically eat packaged candy (which is probably part of why it’s a bit overwhelming to me) but I made an exception for these.

Peanut Butter Oreo Overload Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}Peanut Butter Oreo Overload Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}

With a glob of peanut butter sandwiched between two Oreos and surrounded by brownie, these things do not mess around. Maybe you only want half of one, maybe you want five, I don’t judge. The fudgy-ness of a brownie, the crunchy-ness of an Oreo, and a smooth peanut butter filling give you all the textures you could want in one chocolatey bite.

Peanut Butter Oreo Overload Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}

I topped mine with some Reese’s peanut butter chips for some added flair, and because I always have them on hand anyway. Totally not necessary but they do look prettier that way, and as we all know: you do eat prettiness.

Peanut Butter Oreo Overload Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}

These would be great for an upcoming Halloween party (maybe cut them in half for kids) if you want to get away from all the pumpkin flavors. (If you don’t, my pumpkin ginger cupcakes are amazing, not that I’m biased.)

Peanut Butter Oreo Overload Brownies

Inspired by various Pinterest pins
Makes ~18

Ingredients

1 box brownie mix (for 8×8 pan)1
–> plus any ingredients called for on package

1 package Oreos (or knockoffs)
peanut butter
Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners and lightly grease with cooking spray.
  2. Mix the brownie batter according to package directions and set aside.
  3. Place an Oreo (or knockoff) in the bottom of each muffin liner and top with one teaspoon of peanut butter (using a cookie scoop will greatly speed up this process.)
  4. Gently press a second cookie on top of the peanut butter, pressing down till the peanut butter is spread evenly across the cookie.
  5. Add two rounded tablespoons of brownie batter on top of the Oreos, using a toothpick to spread it evenly down the sides and across the top. Liners should be almost completely full.
  6. Top with Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional).
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes (the tops should be matte).
  8. Let cool completely in the pan, then store in an airtight container.

Notes

1 I used the Ghirardelli brownie mix that Costco sells, but it would be much easier to use a mix that doesn’t have chocolate chips/chunks in the batter.

You may have a little leftover brownie batter, just bake it in additional liners, filling each about 2/3 full. Great for brownie sundaes after you’ve given all these away.

Almond Roca

Happy holidays from Australia! I am busy enjoying sun, sand, and surf before I head back to winter for ski season. More updates when I get back. =) But even though though I’m on the opposite side of the world, I made sure to schedule this recipe to share with all of you. This is something my family (and many family friends) make for Christmas every year and I definitely wanted to share it. Although my family has reduced how much we make each year, we still make several batches to share and keep in the freezer. It is a Top Secret recipe that my mom shares with everyone.

Almonda Roca {Baking Bytes}

If you’ve never had homemade almond roca, you are seriously missing out. I encourage you to make some, pronto. I actually don’t like almonds that much and I can’t get enough of it. Sweet and crunchy, it is delightful straight out of the freezer, or at room temp (if you can wait that long.) It makes a beautiful “appetizer” to have out for parties and a fabulous gift. As a kid I always gave some to my teachers, and had several that said the bag never even made it home.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Although it’s a little time-consuming, and kind of messy, it’s an easy gift for teachers, neighbors, extended family, or just to have on hand in case you forgot someone. Even better, it keeps well in the freezer for a few months so you (or the recipient) can set it aside if there’s a sugar overload or more time-sensitive items to be eaten. Fair warning though, as easy as it is, it’s a bit easy to screw up too; make sure you read the notes at the bottom to help you be successful.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Buttery toffee, crunchy almonds, and sweet chocolate melt in your mouth in perfect harmony.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

I dare you to eat just one.

Almond RocaAlmond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Makes 1 cookie sheet

Ingredients

2 cups almonds

1 pound good quality salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 T. water

1 (10 oz) package chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Coarsely chop 1 cup of the almonds; set aside.
  2. Finely chop the remaining cup of almonds; set aside.
  3. Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and lightly oil with vegetable or canola oil.
  4. In a small-medium, heavy, saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugar and water.
  5. Heat candy to 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring often. It will look kind of marshmallowy. (That’s definitely a technical term.)
  6. Add in the cup of coarsely chopped almonds, and heat to 300 degrees, stirring constantly. (It should be very pale brown and thick but also oily looking.)
  7. Pour immediately onto prepared cookie sheet and spread out as thinly as possible without creating holes.
  8. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for one minute and stir. Repeat until chocolate is completely melted and stir until smooth.
  9. Thinly spread candy with chocolate and sprinkle with about half of the finely chopped nuts.
  10. Transfer entire cookie sheet to freezer for 45 minutes, or until candy is hard.
  11. Remove cookie sheet from freezer, flip over the candy (don’t worry about breaking it), and let it warm up for about 15 minutes.
  12. Melt the remaining chocolate, and repeat the coating on the back. It is easiest to do this is small sections as the chocolate hardens quickly.
  13. Return the cookie sheet to the freezer until chocolate is firm, break the candy into bite-sized pieces and store in resealable bags, or put some in a cellophane candy bag and pass out to adoring fans.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Notes

1 You must use good quality butter like Tillamook or Darigold; store brands produce inconsistent results and might fail completely. And make sure it’s salted butter!
2 My mom uses a large pullout cutting board. I like to use a lipped cookie sheet because it keeps it a little more contained. Just make sure you use something firm, mobile, and that will fit in your freezer (or outside, if it’s cold enough.) It’s also a good idea to lay down newspaper and/or a silicon trivet to protect your counter from the hot candy (and excess oil runoff if you’re not using something with a rim.)
3 It is best to use a long-handled wooden spoon for stirring, as it doesn’t get hot or damage the pan during your million hours (30 minutes) of stirring.
4 Make sure your candy thermometer gets deep into the mixture; if you use too large a pan you are likely to burn the candy because the thermometer isn’t registering the correct temperature. My best luck has been with a heavy 3-qt saucepan.
5 I buy chocolate chips from Costco so I never actually measure how much I use, but I melt about a cup at a time. I like to spread it quite thin, but that’s definitely up to you. I always use semi-sweet (because I buy in bulk) but dark chocolate would be delicious too if you prefer.
6 Even if you’re making a lot of batches, don’t try to cook more than one at a time; it doesn’t seem to go very well. You’ll be much more successful using an assembly line, ideally with extra hands. Pour some eggnog and make it a family or friend activity.
7 If you can’t make it work, comment here or email me and I’ll do my best to help you get it right next time. =)