Butterscotch Fudge

IMG_1157 Fudge continues to be one of my go-tos when I’m stressed or want to take food to when I’m asking people to do things. This is wonderfully simple, too.

Ingredients:

  • 24oz bag of butterscotch flavored chips
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • salt

Optional:

  • vanilla
  • powdered sugar
  • mini marshmallows

Put your whole bag of chips and both your cans of sweetened condensed milk on the stove on low. If you are very fancy, you can use a double boiler. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on top, because salt makes all sweets better. Let that go for a while.

Get out a 9×13 pan and line it with parchment paper – it makes for way easier extraction and cleanup.

When the stuff on the stove starts to get melty, stir it, making sure to get the stuff at the bottom. No one likes charred sugar bits. Or maybe you do, I don’t judge. But when it’s all melted and smooth, remove from heat. If you want, this is when you’d add a little bit of vanilla and mix it in. The powdered sugar is more for texture than taste. This stuff ends up pretty soft out of the freezer, but beating in powdered sugar means it’ll be stiffer on its own as soon as it’s cooled. It does need to be beaten, though, either with a whisk and a great deal of enthusiasm or a mixer.

Then pour the fudge in your pan! Spread it out so it’s all more or less level. If marshmallows are your thing, this is when you’d drop them on top. If you have ended up with sugar bits or small pockets of powdered sugar that weren’t quite integrated, marshmallows on top are a way to pretend you totally meant it to have a non-uniform texture.

Stick the whole pan in the freezer for a couple hours, then take it out, lift the whole slab of fudge out on the parchment paper, and cut it into bits. Running the knife under hot water before you cut will make it easier, but either way, it makes tons, and stores well in the freezer.

Individual Peach Pies

Ingredients:

  • tube of crescent rolls
  • a ripe peach
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg

I feel like I’ve been putting cinnamon and nutmeg in everything recently, but they’re goddamn delicious so whatever.

Putting all of this together took a little longer than preheating my oven did, so you might want to mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg or slice the peach into 8ths before you start the oven preheating to 350°F.

Anyway, slice the peach into 8ths and unroll the crescent rolls. Put one of the peach slices on each of the unrolled crescent rolls. If you’re fancy or whatever you could probably chop the peach and spices and sugar together and make it more pie-filling-y, but whatever. Add some sugar and spices to each of the rolls, then roll them up and fold over the edges so that there’s not much peach showing.

Arrange those on a non-stick baking sheet and stick them in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start looking golden brown.

Try to wait until they’re cool before eating, but enjoy them even if you end up scalding your tongue.

3-Ingredient Mocha Fudge

So this recipe looks delicious and amazing, but T hates salt on chocolate. And then I couldn’t find espresso powder. But what I could find was this:

Ingredients:

  • 24oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • Maxwell House vanilla iced coffee concentrate

Empty the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk into a pot on the stove and melt it on low. Stir that with a spatula occasionally until it’s all smooth. While that’s going, put some parchment in a baking tin, because it makes everything easier later. Bring the chocolate stuff up to just below boiling, making sure that when you stir you’re scraping the chocolate off the bottom. Take it off heat and add two big squeezes of the vanilla coffee stuff. Stir that again, and pour it over the parchment in the baking tin.

Freeze that for however long – I left it overnight, a couple house would probably work. When it’s hard, cut it into little squares. It’s super rich, and also probably the best possible application for the coffee stuff, which I haven’t tried in milk but which is disappointing in water. It stores well in the freezer, which is great because of how intense it is: you probably won’t want more than a piece or two at a time. Another option, of course, is taking some in to your department as a thank you for agreeing to write a recommendation letter.

Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

IMG_1051I really love making bread from frozen bread dough. It’s deeply satisfying – like, I don’t actually know what I’m doing with rising times or yeast or leavening, but I can assemble things and stick them in the oven like a boss.

Ingredients:

  • bread dough for one loaf
  • bar of dark chocolate
  • cinnamon
  • water

I have a very non-stick non-stick pan, so I didn’t actually bother greasing it. Roll out the dough – heck, roll it out directly in the pan, if you want, so you’re dirtying fewer things. It should be pretty thin and spread out. Chop up your chocolate bar into bitty chunks (or use chocolate chips) and spread those along the middle. You want roughly thirds – so plain dough, chocolate, plain dough. Shake cinnamon over it generously: you want it to have a little spice as well as flavor.

Cut along the edges roughly an inch and a half apart, then use those pieces to braid over top of the chocolate. Now let it rise for twenty minutes, and preheat your oven to 350°F. Right before you put the bread in, use your favorite method of glaze – I just get my hands real wet and run them over the top. Bake for 22-24 minutes, then remove from the oven.

It’s really amazing still warm, and also delicious toasted the next morning.

Let’s talk chocolate

I think we can all agree that chocolate is fucking delicious.

There’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, but Dove dark chocolate is not the worst option.

As a pick-me-up, a dessert ingredient, a drink, or a sugar-packed excuse for a superfood, chocolate is pretty amazing.

It’s also, uh, got some problems. Like child slavery, exploitation of farmers, chemical runoff, and the dangers of monoculture. Which is kind of upsetting, because no one wants to be the person who weighs the welfare of children, farmers, and the environment against candy and picks candy. But chocolate.

So minimizing the damage involved in the purchase of chocolate (because let’s be real we are all picking chocolate over the welfare of other human beings and the planet we live on) is definitely a goal to work towards. There are a couple ways to do this: getting something that is Fair Trade certified is awesome, though getting organic on top of that is possibly useless. Another option is Rainforest Alliance chocolate, which doesn’t have the same minimum payment as Fair Trade but involves more education for farmers and a commitment to environmental impact as well.

These options aren’t actually necessarily more expensive – Hershey, for example, sources some cocoa more sustainably now and has committed to doing better – though some of the fancier options come in flavors like lavender. So next time you need a fix or you’re refilling your stash, consider checking out the stuff with the Fair Trade logo or the Rainforest Alliance frog.