I've had chocolate fudge on the brain for a week. While I gave my body a vacation and enjoyed my mini-fast detox diet (salads, low-fat jarlsberg cheese, veggies, apples, oranges, berries, water, and chamomile tea), I was preparing myself for the homemade chocolate fudgefest last night. I did it. At last, I made chocolatey fudge with an Italian twist... (And it was the best Rx to get me through another companion animal challenge.)...
Flashback... I had to do it. After all, one week before autumn arrives--the rustic red Italian baking dish from Sur La Table arrived on my doorstep. Made in Italy, its size (13" length x 8 1/2" width x 3 1/4" depth) could work for an upscale fudge pan, right? No matter. This beautiful piece of bakeware tagged "Italian Baker with Handles" was going to be used for my first Italian entree pasta dish but I just couldn't wait. It was a "sign"--giving me the green light to go ahead to christen my new European dish. Moving forward... If you do a Google search for Chocolate Fudge recipes you'll be overwhelmed with dozens and dozens of recipes--using exactly the same ingredients. I like to concoct my own style to keep it easy, failproof (I'm still in Baking 101 mode), healthy and tasty as possible. During my research for The Healing Powers of Chocolate, I noticed that many of the gourmet European chocolatiers do use real and fresh ingredients, including quality chocolate, butter, sugar, and cream. So, I was on a mission to do that, too, sort of.
- Use hazelnuts. These crunchy cuties boast protein, iron, fiber, calcium, and other good stuff. They truly made this fudge work for me in presentation, taste and texture.
- Use an Italian dish during the chilling process. It is a nice effect and will whisk you away to Europe (sort of).
- Use premium all-natural premium semi-sweet chocolate, 60%-70% cacao content.
- Use real butter (unsalted is good) but I splurged and ended up with Challenge butter (uses real California milk). Note: Since writing The Healing Powers of Olive Oil--butter is rarely in my fridge. Olive oil is my fat of choice as it is Italians.
- Use premium milk. Note: To cut the fat I chose 2% low-fat evaporated milk with vitamins A and D.
- Use creamy stuff. I hesitated to go the marshmallow cream route but the sweet goo does contain corn syrup (Italians have been known to eat it); as a kid I recall it was the ingredient that made our fudge turn out, not flop.
- Use EVOO to grease your dish before pouring the chocolate mixture into it. (No, I didn't do it this time around but would not hesitate next time.)
- Cut the recipe portions in half. Remember, European women don't get fat if they follow the traditional Mediterranean diet and lifestyle: Smaller portions, eat decadent foods like chocolate, and get a move on. Think small.