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In my experience there is nothing better than a handmade token of love or gratitude, way above any bought chocolate. So I give you a basic fudge recipe which is classed as 1960's as it comes from a book of that vintage, but its simply timeless. Not only that but its also a damn bit cheaper.
If you just want to make Rich Vanilla Fudge you can replace the brandy with water. Try a variation and add Apricot Brandy? What about Disaronno or even White Rum? The possibilities are endless!
You will need:
1lb granulated sugar
1/2 pint cream
3 tablespoons brandy
half pint of milk
1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence or 1 vanilla pod
1. Put all the ingredients, including the vanilla essence or cut the vanilla pod, into a strong saucepan, this is very important because of the strong cream content. Here I would recommend a non-stick pan of high quality.
2. Stir until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
3. Boil steadily, stirring quite frequently, until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage. This is a nicer fudge if rather soft so do not let it exceed 238F (best use a thermometer). Take out the pod, rince under water and store in a jar of sugar.
4. Beat until slightly cloudy, pour into a well oiled or buttered tin.
5. Allow to set and cut into squares.