Last year during a visit to New Zealand my children discovered the fabulous Remarkables Sweet Shop in picturesque and quaint Arrowtown. Home to a wonderful array of old-fashioned home-made fudge. Rich, creamy and meltingly delicious, we soon developed an insatiable addiction. It’s an open secret that after a full day’s skiing at Coronet Peak, we ritually included a detour to Arrowtown and its sweet shop on our way home. We left New Zealand with large quantities of gift wrapped fudge. Ostensibly to share with friends and family, with just a little extra for ourselves. Though exactly how much of that fudge my children managed to share is debatable.
Back in Australia faced with a dwindling supply I was coerced to try my hand at fudge making. New Zealand style. With all natural ingredients. A saucepan of butter, cream and chocolate. Heated to the correct temperature with the aid of a candy thermometer and beaten to the right consistency with a sturdy wooden spoon. What can I say? The road to perfect fudge, whilst lusciously achievable, can also be fraught with peril and danger. It took a number of attempts and many hours to recreate a fudge on par with the Remarkables Sweet Shop offerings. I know by first-hand experience that there’s a fine line between smooth, creamy and delectable, and a grainy, unholy mess.
Time poor, any subsequent requests for homemade fudge sadly fell on deaf ears. Until I stumbled across a quick and easy fudge recipe on the back of a tin of condensed milk, of all places. Three easy steps. Melt. Mix. Cool. No candy thermometers. No beating, Just a little stirring. My kind of cooking. Worth a try. So this weekend, with Christmas just around the corner, I decided to put it to the test.
Sometimes all you really do need is a very simple recipe. Armed with a box of Turkish delight, a packet of pistachios and a supply of metal Christmas tree shaped biscuit cutters my girls and I created these gorgeous Chocolate Fudge Christmas Trees. Incredibly easy to make. No tricks or traps for the uninitiated. The fudge was melted, mixed and spooned into its biscuit cutter moulds within twenty minutes. In a word? Uncomplicated. Even easier than making brigadeiros. Decorated with an assortment of cachous and dragees they made eye-catching and delicious edible treats. Perfect for festive gift giving.
We wrapped our fudge, ensconced in its protective biscuit cutter, in cellophane tied with a pretty ribbon. It did occur to me that a little kitchen twine looped around the biscuit cutter before filling with fudge could also transform this offering into an ornament. Which is exactly what I intend to do with my next batch. The inaugural batch of six chocolate fudge Christmas trees was very quickly devoured. In the interests of quality control. The verdict? Heaven. All that remains is a pile of biscuit cutters. On the kitchen benchtop. Waiting to be refilled.
Chocolate Fudge Christmas Trees with Pistachio and Turkish Delight
Fills 6 large biscuit cutters
We added Turkish delight and pistachios to our fudge but any favourite combination of dried fruits and nuts could be used.
1 tin (395g) sweetened condensed milk
25g unsalted butter
400g dark chocolate, chopped
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 cup pistachios, toasted
3/4 cup Turkish delight, diced and dusted with icing sugar to prevent sticking
6 Christmas tree shaped biscuit cutters
assorted cachous and dragees to decorate ( I used gold, silver, pink and green)
LINE an oven tray with baking paper. Spray the inside of the cookie cutters with a non-stick cooking spray. Place on the prepared tray and set aside.
OVER low-medium heat, combine condensed milk, chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan. Stir occasionally until melted, smooth and glossy.
REMOVE from heatand stir in sifted icing sugar. Allow to cool a little before adding the pistachios and turkish delight. Stir well to combine. Fudge will thicken as it cools.
SPOON fudge into the prepared cutters, smooth top with a palette knife and decorate with cachous and dragees.
REFRIGERATE for 30 minutes to set. Wrap in a cellophane bag & tie with pretty ribbon.