Monday, 26 November 2012

Preparing For Christmas

File:Rum Raisin Fudge at Chester Fudge.jpg

Source for this image here.

Oh!  The house seems very quiet today after all the activity of the past few days!  We were all sorry to see Papa Bear's brothers go, as we had enjoyed lots of fun things while they were here.  But the celebrations only stop for a short time - in less than a month from now, it will be Christmas!
 I am nearly done with our Christmas shopping.  I have about 6 gifts left to buy.  We have all the cards bought and I shall write them and get them into the post this coming week.  The decorations come out next week, and the tree will be put up.   I have a few little decorative surprises up my sleeve as usual this year - but I like to keep everyone guessing until all the decorating is finished!  I'm also pleased now that most of my homemade gifts are done, and this week I shall probably get the fudge done.

We love fudge, but I only make it at Christmas - it is very sweet and rich, and it makes it more of a treat if we have it only on special days like Christmas.  There are lots of other treats that we enjoy the rest of the year!  I make some to put in gift baskets for our family too - but it does need to be kept in the fridge until you give it, so it's best not to make it too far in advance.  I have never tried freezing it - I think it would probably spoil the texture.

This is the recipe I am using this year - I prefer to do a white fudge for Christmas, as it looks more Christmassy!   I've never made rum and raisin before - I don't think the taste of the rum would appeal to us, as none of us drink alcohol, but the raisins would be nice!  Cherries are good too and one year I made white chocolate fudge with green and red glace cherries in it - that looked very festive!

Here is the recipe for the white chocolate and cranberry fudge I am making.  It doesn't have nuts in as this is what we prefer, but you could easily add some pecans, walnuts or even macadamias to this, to make it even more delicious if you wanted to.  Since I am making this for lots of people, I usually double-quadruple the recipe but this makes at least 60 pieces of fudge (I usually give 6 or 8 big chunks per family).

12 oz granulated sugar (I use white in this recipe, not golden)
1 oz butter or margarine (do try to use butter - real fudge is always better made with this)
6 oz (small) can evaporated milk
3 1/2 oz dried cranberries
10 oz white chocolate, chopped

1.  Line a shallow baking pan (I use a 9 x 13 inch one) with greaseproof paper.

2.  Place the sugar, butter or margarine and evaporated milk in a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

3.  Now bring to the boil, stirring all the time, and then let bubble for 5 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reaches the "soft ball" stage - 235 degrees F or 118 degrees C.  It is easier I find to use a candy thermometer, and they don't cost much to buy, but if you are brave, just bubble away - that 5 minutes will seem a lot longer, as you watch your saucepan!

4.  Remove from the heat and added the cranberries and chopped chocolate.  Stir well until the chocolate has melted - the mixture will thicken rapidly as it cools once removed from the heat.

5.  Pour into the prepared pan, and chill in the fridge until set (at least 1 hour).  

6.  Cut into pieces and place in gift bags or boxes!  I usually place in boxes or put individual pieces into miniature cupcake cases first, as the pieces tend to stick together if they are out of the fridge too long.  Put a copy of the recipe in your gift box with the fudge, and instructions to keep it in the fridge.  Then share the sweetness of Christmas with your loved ones!

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