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Maple, chocolate, white cherry, lemon ... fudge flavours are endless

12/15/2014 07:00 EST | Updated 02/14/2015 05:59 EST
With its smooth richness, there are few treats more indulgent than homemade fudge.

The following recipes encompass a range of fudge flavours and level of difficulty, for novice to advanced candy makers.

When making candy, it's important to be prepared for all the steps because timing can be critical, writes Jane Sharrock, author of "300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes." Have all the ingredients available and ready to use, and have the pan, baking sheet or surface prepared before you start cooking.

Maple Fudge

Maple-flavoured fudge is a Canadian classic. The real maple syrup in this recipe produces a creamy confection that is also easy to make.

500 ml (2 cups) maple syrup

175 ml (3/4 cup) half-and-half (10 per cent) cream

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

Grease a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan.

In a heavy saucepan, combine maple syrup, cream and butter and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, until a drop in cold water forms a soft ball (113-114 C/236 to 238 F).

Let cool to lukewarm (43 C/110 F) without stirring. Beat until creamy. Turn into pan. Cut into squares.

Makes one 20-cm (8-inch) square pan.

Source: "The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book" (Whitecap Books), prepared by the Canadian Home Economics Association.

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Katie's Perfect Chocolate Fudge

This quick fudge recipe cooks much like a marshmallow-based fudge but without the marshmallows. If made as directed, this extra-chocolaty, extra-creamy fudge will be perfect every time.

750 ml (3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

250 ml (1 cup) butter or margarine, thinly sliced

1.125 l (4 1/2 cups) granulated sugar

1 can (370 ml/12 oz) evaporated milk

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

750 ml (3 cups) pecans or walnuts, in large pieces (optional)

Butter a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a large heatproof mixing bowl, combine chocolate chips and butter.

In a heavy candy kettle over medium heat, bring sugar and milk to a rolling boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, exactly 8 1/2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Pour hot mixture over chocolate chips and butter. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and candy is smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla and nuts, if using. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate overnight or until firm. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2.25 kg (5 lb).

Source: "300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes" by Jane Sharrock (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca).

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Creamy Blond Fudge

The cream and butter make this vanilla fudge rich and the combination of ingredients gives it a creamy but slightly sticky texture.

750 ml (3 cups) granulated sugar

250 ml (1 cup) half-and-half (10 per cent) cream

125 ml (1/2 cup) milk

50 ml (1/4 cup) light (white) corn syrup

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter or margarine

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) vanilla extract

250 ml (1 cup) pecans or walnuts, in large pieces (optional)

Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a heavy candy kettle over medium heat, bring sugar, half-and-half, milk, corn syrup and butter to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, to soft ball stage (112 to 116 C/234 to 240 F, with 114 C/238 F recommended).

Remove from heat. Let cool to lukewarm (43 C/110 F), 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add vanilla. Beat by hand until mixture begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in nuts, if desired. Quickly spread candy into prepared pan. Let cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 1.25 kg (2 1/2 lb).

Source: "300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes" by Jane Sharrock (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca).

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White Cherry Fudge

A bite of this colourful, ultra-sweet and creamy fudge is just the thing to put you into a festive holiday mood. A few pieces in gift tins adds colour and cheer.

550 ml (2 1/4 cups) granulated sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream

50 ml (1/4 cup) milk

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter or margarine

15 ml (1 tbsp) light (white) corn syrup

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract

250 ml (1 cup) walnuts, in large pieces (optional)

75 ml (1/3 cup) chopped candied cherries

Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a heavy saucepan over medium-low to medium heat, bring sugar, sour cream, milk, butter, corn syrup and salt to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, to soft ball stage (112 to 116 C/234 to 240 F, with 114 C/238 F recommended).

Remove from heat. Let cool to lukewarm (43 C/110 F), about 1 hour.

Add vanilla. Beat by hand just until candy begins to lose its gloss and hold its shape. Quickly stir in walnuts, if using, and cherries. Immediately turn into prepared pan. (The candy can set very rapidly once it begins to cool so it is important to work quickly. It may be necessary to pat or press candy into pan using the back of a large spoon.)

Let cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 750 g (1 1/2 lb).

Source: "300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes" by Jane Sharrock (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca).

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Lemon-White Chocolate Fudge

This recipe has enough white chocolate to capture attention, but not enough to overwhelm. For deeper flavour, use up to 340 g (12 oz) white chocolate.

500 ml (2 cups ) granulated sugar

175 ml (3/4 cup) sour cream

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter or margarine

Pinch salt

Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons

250 g (8 oz) white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 jar (198 g/7 oz) marshmallow creme

5 to 7 ml (1 to 1 1/2 tsp) pure lemon extract

1 to 2 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, sour cream, butter, salt and lemon zest to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, to soft ball stage (112 to 116 C/234 to 240 F, with 114 C/238 F recommended).

Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until melted. Add marshmallow creme and lemon extract. Stir until candy is smooth and well blended. Stir in food colouring, if using. Pour into prepared pan.

Let cool to room temperature, chill and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 1 kg (2 lb).

Source: "300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes" by Jane Sharrock (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca).

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Fudge With a Twist

The following suggestions for giving your fudge an element of surprise come from The Olde Stanton Store.

Cranberry Fudge

Add fresh raw cranberries to vanilla fudge candy mixture as it cooks. If desired, stir nuts into candy as it is cooling, before it is poured into a pan. Use a knife to swirl the streaky fudge into a pretty pattern. Alternatively, omit raw cranberries and stir in about 175 ml (3/4 cup) of chopped dried cranberries before pouring fudge into a pan.

Candy Cane Fudge

Crush small candy canes and stir into vanilla fudge as it is cooling, before it is poured into pan. Garnish with more pieces of candy cane. Alternately, add mint flavouring to candy as it cooks. After it is cooked, swirl in a few drops of red and green food colouring. Pour into a pan and decorate with candy cane pieces.

S'mores Fudge

Make a basic chocolate fudge. After it is cooked and spread in a pan, melt marshmallows in the microwave and spread over top of fudge. Top with small graham wafers, graham wafer pieces or sprinkle with coarse graham wafer crumbs.

Cookie Dough Fudge

After vanilla fudge is cooked and somewhat cooled, but before it's put in a pan, stir fresh chocolate chip cookie dough into the candy. Spread it in a pan and garnish with small chocolate chip cookies or coarse pieces of cookies and sprinkle with more chocolate chips.

Source: The Olde Stanton Store (the-olde-stanton-store.myshopify.com).

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