Wednesday, June 29, 2016

You Deserve a Treat

To my two loyal readers, I regret that I have kept you waiting so long, and I have made you a treat to reward your patience. To all my other readers, hello! I'm not sure if you exist, but if you do, you also deserve a treat for simply being here.

This fudge and this butterscotch are two of my favorite ice cream toppings, which would make them perfect to write about as summer blazes on, but ironically, every time I set out to share these recipes it rains where I live. Harumph! The joke is on Mother Nature, though, because I love rain, and I am a firm believer that ice cream is good in all weather, so bring on the downpour (of both rain and fudge)!

Fudge Ingredients
Butterscotch Ingredients (similar, no?)
This fudge recipe is one my mom (hi, Mom!) has been making for several years, and I LOVE it. The recipe comes from a family friend, but my mom altered the preparation of it in a way that makes the texture super thick and fluffy. It’s deeply chocolaty and reminiscent of brownie batter. In fact, if you replaced the cream with eggs and flour, I bet it would bake up nicely. This fudge sauce is quick and easy to prepare and really turns a good bowl of ice cream into an amazing one. It’s also not too shabby with fresh berries or drizzled over pastries. You know, if you like that sort of thing.

Stirring in sugar...
corn syrup...
and cream
The butterscotch recipe comes from, aka my first love in the food blog world (and probably still my favorite). It is exceedingly simple to prepare and has a rich, delicious butterscotch-y flavor without requiring any fussy ingredients or any booze, as some butterscotch recipes suggest. It keeps well in the fridge and is awesome over ice cream (of course) as well as crepes, waffles, French toast, bread pudding, etc. Super yummy. Good to have around.

I didn't take as many pictures of the butterscotch because my stove (and elevation maybe?) makes it hard to keep it at a low boil, so I was whisking instead of photographing...

Fun Fact: What everyone calls “caramelization” is often actually Maillard browning. Caramelization and Maillard browning are two different things. Caramelization occurs when sugar is exposed to high temperatures and begins to break down and release delicious chemical compounds. Maillard browning occurs when both sugars and amino acids are exposed to high temperatures and the two compounds react with each other (and also produce delicious chemical compounds). Maillard browning is responsible for the golden crust on bread and the delicious seared exterior of a steak. Basically, if the “caramelized” food contains protein, it’s probably Maillard browning at play. Granted, the two processes are not remarkably different. In fact, one article I read called me a “pedantic hairsplitter” for even distinguishing the two. I guess I just wanted you all to be as pedantic as I am. You can go enjoy your ice cream with Maillard browning sauce now.

Fudge Sauce
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup superfine sugar
Dash salt
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/3 cup cream (or evaporated milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Carefully melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the sugar, salt, and corn syrup. Stir in the cream, a drizzle at a time, until smooth and incorporated. Finally, stir in the vanilla. The fudge will be smooth and fluffy at this point. You may return it to the heat, if desired, to try to decrease the slight graininess from the sugar, but I like it best without reheating.

Butterscotch Sauce
Adapted slightly from

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or more to taste
pinch of salt, or more to taste

Melt the butter, sugar, and cream together in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking often, or constantly if it's really boil-y. (You can go longer than 5 minutes if you want a thicker butterscotch, but the butterscotch also thickens after it cools. It’s really not a terrible thing to learn by making this repeatedly and taste-testing.) Stir in the vanilla and pinch of salt. Taste a tiny bit (carefully! After cooling!), and add more vanilla and salt to taste. Let cool to good drizzling temperature, and serve.

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