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“Candied Cherry Opera Fudge”

Makes: 20 servings
Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins
Stand 20 mins

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half or light cream
1 tablespoon light-colored corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup coarsely chopped candied red cherries
Halved candied red cherries (optional)

Directions

1. Line a 5-3/4x3x2-inch loaf pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil; set aside.
2. Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In the saucepan combine the sugar, milk, half-and-half, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer to sides of pan.
3. Continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 236 degrees F, soft ball stage, (about 20 minutes). Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.
4. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter and vanilla but do not stir. Cool, without stirring, to 170 degrees F (about 20 minutes). Remove thermometer from saucepan. Beat mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup cherries. Beat mixture vigorously for 1 minute more. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Let stand until firm. Use foil to lift fudge from pan; remove foil. To serve, top with additional cherries. Cut fudge into thick slices. Makes 20 servings.

from the test kitchen:
Before making candy, always calibrate your thermometer by placing in boiling water. Adjust candy temperature depending on whether the water boils above or below 212 degrees F. We recommend the digital Williams-Sonoma Oil and Candy Thermometer. The digital read out makes cooking to the right temperature easy. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/digital-oil-and-candy-thermometer/

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