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Man Food Watch™: Salute the season with real cocoa fudge

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Man-Food Watch™ is a series of recipes for armchair tailgaters who want to raise their game when it comes TV sports and eating. Impress the guys with food that’s hearty, flavorful, easy to make and usually inexpensive.

Everybody has a favorite crazy aunt.

At the holidays, Your Examiner’s is good for some of the best cocoa fudge ever made.

Celebrate National Cocoa Day in all its glory by learning how to make fudge the old-fashioned way.

Where cocoa comes from

Cocoa is harvested from odd, oblong fruit of the cocoa tree, theobroma cacao, and its seeds which we call cocoa beans.

Native to deep tropical regions of Central and South America, cocoa has been enjoyed in warm beverages for at least 2,000 years.

Europeans had to wait until 1502 for Christopher Columbus to “discover” cacao and bring it back to the Olde World so that they could learn to enjoy chocolate.

A few years later in 1519, the Spanish learned about cocoa on the ground from a chocolatey drink offered them by the Aztec emperor Moctezuma in Tenochtitlan, where they also would learn about its cultivation and lore.

Within a century, the culinary and medicinal uses of chocolate had spread to England, then France and the rest Western Europe.

GJE’s Crazy Aunt’s Cocoa Fudge

While it is true that cool dry days are better for making candy, fudge included, you don’t have to wait on the weather.

Make sure you use a wooden spoon to stir your fudge while it cooks so that it doesn’t sugar.

The only tricky thing about making fudge is cooking it long enough without burning it.

Experienced candy makers know how to cook the fudge batter to a “soft-ball” stage and test doneness using ice water and their fingers.

It works. Most of the time.

For a sure thing, use a candy thermometer.

Should both methods fail and your fudge not set, you have some of the best fudge topping for ice cream that’s ever been made.

It’s a real win-win, so go for it and make some fudge.

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup Hershey’s® cocoa powder
  • 3 cups granulated white sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons, plus 1 pat salted whole butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a medicum-sized heavy pot.
  2. Add milk and stir until all the lumps in the cocoa powder are gone.
  3. Bring to a slow boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
  4. Cook until a small amount of the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped in a cup of cold water.
  5. Or use a candy thermometer. Cook the fudge to 234⁰ F.
  6. Remove from heat, drop in butter and let it melt all the way.
  7. Cool to lukewarm in a sink filled with about 2 inches of tap water, add vanilla, and stir until mixture thickens and begins to lose its sheen.
  8. Pour immediately into a buttered 8”x 8”pan and cut into 1-inch squares.

Of course your yummy fudge is best eaten while still warm.

What you get is a smooth, cakey texture that’s at once bittersweet and salty and melts on the tongue like butter.

However, if you’re packing it for holiday gifts, let your fudge cool completely before wrapping.

And don’t forget to lick the bowl and the spoon.

-30-

©2013 All rights reserved.

OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: kt.4examiner@yahoo.com

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