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Every holiday season I create a special surprise for a list of folks who are especially dear to me. Bottles of wine? Gift Certificates? No, I am a believer of gifting food items from My Global Kitchen. One year I made my Spice Rub, put it into fancy jars and distributed it throughout the city. Last year my friends received little bags of biscotti tied with festive ribbons. This year will be the Year of Hot Fudge. While it costs me far less money to make my own special gifts – my main reason for personally crafting these treats is much more important. I cherish my friends and want to take the time and care to make them something truly personal and unique.
This recipe has a funny history. My daughter Rachel’s day care provider, Mikaela, is an amazing woman on many levels. She is young (mid 20’s), smart, and manages to care for 6 youngsters in her home. I have watched this former Montessori teacher in action and she truly loves and appreciates each and every one of her charges. Her home is spotless and organized, and she peruses Craigslist and Goodwill for appropriate toys and does a fantastic job. Everyone’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween are cause for serious celebration with the kids. Did I mention that every holiday season she makes a surprise FOR THE DAYCARE PARENTS?? Hot fudge sauce was the gift a couple of years ago, and when I tasted it, I went a little crazy. I am, admittedly, a chocoholic with no desire to come “clean”. I love my chocolate – the darker, the better. So I was in heaven.
Last year when I visited Iowa Mikaela shared her recipe. The original instructions call for a double boiler which Rachel doesn’t own, so we rigged one up using a stainless steel bowl that fit over a sauce pan. The fudge sauce came out great, but I wanted mine less sweet so I went home and reworked the recipe. In the middle of my preparations I got a frantic call from Rachel…she tried to make the fudge and two times the sugar crystallized. She searched the internet and found that most recipes utilize corn syrup! “NO NO, NO!” I cried. There had to be a solution. I paid special attention as I made this last batch pictured here and learned that the key is to use a very, very low flame and to be patient.
Hot Fudge Sauce
Makes 4 half-pint jars
- 1 stick butter
- 5 squares of unsweetened chocolate (5 oz)* (Bakers or Hershey’s chocolate are just fine)
- 1 -12 oz can evaporated milk
- 1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla
Put butter and unsweetened chocolate into a double boiler over very low heat. (I do this on my Wolf Range lowest simmer n a heavy pan. If you don’t have this function on your stovetop, use a double boiler or a rigged up double boiler. Use the smallest burner on a low setting.)
Let them melt together in the double boiler or pan. As soon as the chocolate and butter are barely melted, stir in the entire can of evaporated milk. The mix will be flecked with chocolate and not emulsified at all. Do not worry.
Immediately start adding sugar 1 tablespoon at a time – stirring constantly. This doesn’t take that long, because once the sugar is incorporated you add the next tablespoon.
Once all the sugar is in, be sure it is still on low, low heat and keep cooking, stirring every 5 minutes or so until thickened. My batch took 30 minutes to reach this point and never reached above 150 degrees when I checked the temperature.
Once thickened, remove from the heat, add the vanilla and cool a bit before pouring into half pint jars. Screw on the lids and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
I usually cover the lid with fabric, write a cute label and gift it along with a pint of vanilla ice cream and a little bag of toasted almonds.