PB Chocolate Fudge
In our house, 2014 was The Year Of No Sleep. With 3 children under the age of two, that’s not entirely surprising. But it was brutal.
2015 is already my favorite year EVER, simply because I've had more sleep in the first month of this year than I had in the last 10 months of the previous year.
And I'm not even exaggerating.
(The change is mostly due to the fact that, in desperation, we hired a sleep consultant in December. But that's a story for another day….)
There are various strategies for handling extreme sleep deprivation. But personally, I find the most effective to be…..(whisper it) Sugar.
Yeah yeah yeah, I hear all you Paleo dieters out there judging me right now.…….Yes I know that sugar is essentially the Devil in edible form... And yes I do know better (believe it or not, people actually pay me for my ‘expert advice’ on nutrition and healthy eating.)
But hey, in extreme situations you just do what you gotta do. Right? And in my world living with 3 tiny sleep-thieves counts as extreme.
So, one morning I woke up and all I could think about was creating a recipe for creamy, mouth-meltingly smooth Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
I should probably just clarify here, when I say ‘woke up’ I’m not referring to that thing I used to do when the alarm went off after 8 hours of refreshing sleep. I’m talking about the conscious decision to mark the start of ‘daytime’ by changing into something other than PJs. And maybe even having a shower.
If you’ve ever suffered extreme sleep deprivation you’ll relate to that need to demarcate ‘night’ and ‘day’ with different routines, even if they can’t be the ones you’d choose (i.e ‘sleeping’ and ‘waking’). There have been weeks when my only day/night indicator was whether I was drinking coffee or gin. So, in the circumstances, a bit of sugar really isn’t such a bad thing…..
Anyway, I digress. As everyone who tasted this fudge when I first made it agreed, ‘It just works’. I’m wondering why I never thought of it before.
Anyway, you need wonder no longer. Give it a go. You won’t regret it.
One thing I would say….if you live with small people, this is NOT a recipe to do with them. There are very few recipes I wouldn’t let my kids help with. But anything that involves a pan of boiling fudge at temperatures that require a sugar thermometer just isn’t worth the risk.
You probably won’t want to let small people eat this either. It would be totally wasted on them.
And it definitely won’t help them sleep.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Recipe
This fudge is not at all complicated to make, but you do need a sugar thermometer to get the temperature right, and a fairly large, heavy-based saucepan to cook it in. I’d recommend getting everything ready before you start, so that you can work fast once you get going.
Takes: 30 minutes to prepare and cook, plus approx. 1 hour cooling time, and 5 minutes to cut up.
Makes: 100 small squares of fudge (so you really don’t have an excuse not to share it)
- 100g salted butter
- 300ml full fat milk
- 800g white caster sugar
- 150 grams dark chocolate
- 150 grams smooth peanut butter
- Prepare a non-stick square baking tin (approx. 23cm x 23cm) by greasing it with butter and lining the base and sides with parchment paper.
- Get 2 medium sized heat-proof mixing bowls ready (eg metal or pyrex). Measure the dark chocolate (broken into pieces) into one, and the peanut butter into the other. Have a clean spoon ready to mix each bowl. Leave the bowls aside.
- Measure the milk, sugar and butter into a large, heavy based saucepan.
- Heat gently, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves, and then bring the mixture gradually to the boil.
- Once the sugar dissolves, clip the sugar thermometer onto the side of the pan and leave it there.
- Crank up the heat so that the mixture is bubbling hard. Stir it occasionally to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan (note: you need a long handled spoon and to hold it right at the end, as this mixture will spit as it bubbles).
- Let the mixture continue to boil steadily until it reaches 240 degrees F (‘soft ball’ stage). It’ll take about 10-12 minutes to cook the fudge.
- As soon as it reaches the 240 degrees, remove the pan from the heat and VERY CAREFULLY pour half the mixture into the mixing bowl with the chocolate, and half into the bowl with the peanut butter. This isn’t an exact science – just try to share it out as evenly as you can. You need to work quite fast at this point. Start with the peanut butter bowl – beat the mixture hard with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes until it loses it’s glossiness and start to set around the edges.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, using a spatula to scrape out all the fudge, and making sure it is spread evenly over the tin. It wont look pretty, as it does set very fast, but don’t panic, once it has the chocolate layer on top and is cut into little squares it’ll look great!
- Then go to the chocolate bowl (the heat from the fudge should have melted the chocolate by now). Use a wooden spoon to beat the fudge hard for 1-2 minutes until it starts to set around the edges,and then carefully spread it over the peanut butter fudge layer.
- Leave the fudge to set uncovered at room temperature (this only takes about 45 - 60 minutes).
- When it is set and cold, loosen the fudge at the edges of the tin with a spatula, then turn out the fudge onto a clean cutting board before cutting into small squares (10 x 10 cuts is about the right size and gives you 100 small squares of fudge).
This fudge will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for 2 weeks.