Bad news, team. Iâ€™m about to get pompous. Yea, lo, even to the point of posting a picture about it.
Hereâ€™s what happened. I decided to make fudge for friends this Christmas. Nothing extravagant in that â€“ pretty run of the mill Iâ€™d say. But the reason I decided on fudge is that they donâ€™t have the same Christmas fudge traditions over here in this old and jolly country. They have something they call fudge . . . . and no doubt to them it IS fudge. But it doesnâ€™t necessarily involve chocolate â€“ and Iâ€™ve heard from those who know these things that it can even come in strawberry flavor. And no, itâ€™s not that brown sugar fudge stuff (which I always think is a disappointment to be
perfectly honest) â€“ itâ€™s more like a soft toffee with lots of cream in it that you can cut into squares. Itâ€™s awfully good and I could eat way too much of that stuff. But as far as festive food goes . . . they eat mince pies here at all of the moments where we Americans would just say it with fudge.
Then I happened to see in the grocery store a jar of â€œmarshmallow fluffâ€ (donâ€™t blame me â€“ thatâ€™s what it was called) and I thought to myself, â€œSelf: You should make some fudge to give out as Christmas treats.â€ There are all of the plain old reasons that you always give fudge at Christmas â€“ itâ€™s good and itâ€™s fattening. But this time there was the added bonus that I would be giving something unusual â€“ a feature that doesnâ€™t usually show up when you’re giving fudge.
Thatâ€™s what set me out on this ridiculous journey.
I went back to the grocery store and the marshmallow fluff had vanished without a trace â€“ and 3 separate employees claimed to never have heard of it. I went to a different grocery â€“ same story. I was given very odd looks as I tried to describe that back home in America we call it marshmallow cream but I think that here it might be called marshmallow fluff . . . . no luck whatsoever. At this point I was firmly resolved not to give up. I was feeling quite strongly that if I wanted to make fudge with marshmallow cream then I ought to be allowed to do it â€“ England or no England. And yes, I know there are ways to make fudge without marshmallow cream â€“ better fudge too no doubt. But I wanted marshmallow cream purely and simply for the principle of the thing.
So it came down the obvious fact that I was going to have to make my own marshmallow cream. But there was another kink in the hose â€“ they donâ€™t have corn syrup here either. And all of my googling resulted only in recipes for marshmallow cream that involved corn syrup. I decided to substitute golden syrup (do we even have that in the States?) and see how it worked out.
Strange to say, it worked brilliantly. Especially strange since I didnâ€™t have a candy thermometer and was trying to cook this substance to the firm ball stage based on how it looked when I dripped it in a cup of water. All very mysterious and dodgy â€“ but for whatever reason it decided to cooperate and I was left with an enormous vat of marshmallow cream. (I had doubled the recipe just in case.)
Time to make the fudge now. So I measured out my marshmallow cream and decided I had enough to quadruple the fudge recipe. I fired up my stockpot with 12 cups of sugar and whatnot and cooked it to the soft ball stage based once again on the mysterious water dripping ritual. And it worked again! I had really been expecting the whole thing to flop at this point â€“ but it behaved very well. I had myself about 15 pounds of fudge and it was time to pour it into pans.
Thatâ€™s when the bad news hit me. I have no pans. (My kitchen is still somewhat thinly stocked – although the big newsflash is that I now own a can opener.) The best I could muster was 2 small cake pans and that was going to get me absolutely nowhere. I racked my brain and suddenly had what can only be described as flash of brilliance. I pulled out the top drawer of my Welsh dresser (which I bought on ebay for 6 pounds!) and lined it with tin foil. I then dumped the entirety of my huge pot of fudge into it and let it cool on the windowsill (which is deep enough to accommodate the top drawer of a Welsh dresser.)
Needless to say, I was extensively pleased with myself for my resourcefulness and ingenuity. So much so that I have now wasted a huge amount of my motherâ€™s blog space purely to show off about it! And yes, here come the pictures.