Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Best of Both Worlds: Nutella Sea Salt Fudge

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I think it's time for a break from attempts at healthiness, don't you?  It's the fourth week of January, after all, which means we've been good for a very long time (well, you have, and I've been trying to support your efforts).  I think this sea salt-sprinkled Nutella fudge is just the ticket for a brief holiday from Healthtown.

Most people have cravings that lean one way or another: toward salty foods or sweet ones.  My mom, for example, isn't that fussed about chocolate or cakes, but put a bag of salt and vinegar Kettle chips in front of her and she'll have to work very hard not to eat the entire sharing-sized container, and then run her finger along the inside creases and lick off the salt.  Similarly, my brother was never as into candy as I was when we were growing up, but he loves a rich, heavy, fried or creamy savory meal. 

My dad and my sister, on the other hand, love the sweet stuff.  When I was in high school, my sister used to always have a drawer full of chocolate-covered fruits from the Whole Foods bulk section, and if you opened her freezer there would be at least two kinds of ice cream, usually Ben&Jerry's and frequently involving chocolate.  And my dad can't keep his hands out of bowls of jelly beans or hard candies (which he chews immediately).

As for me, I got lucky: I crave salty and sweet!  It's damn near impossible for me to choose, which means that on long-haul flights or during especially stressful periods of my life (like this one, in which I'm eating my way through a big batch of edits on my book), I have to have both flavors accessible to me, which usually means I eat twice the naughty food of normal people.  Hooray for equal-opportunity snacking!  (My hips do not agree.)

Thankfully, there's a sort of cure for what ails me: salty-sweet desserts.  Salted caramels, crunchy roasted peanuts covered in dark chocolate, and now this Nutella sea-salt fudge.

Let me warn you: this fudge is no joke.  It's actually rich enough that even I wasn't sure I would want to keep eating it after one bite.  But then I forced myself (all in the name of research for you, dear readers), and then I had one more bite...and another...and another.  Don't let that first taste fool you, kids, this stuff is addictive!  I highly recommend making it to take somewhere, rather than doing as I did and letting it sit in your fridge and call to you in the middle of the night. 

Thank goodness I only made a half-batch.  As it is I think I gained ten pounds just looking at these photos.

Nutella Sea Salt Fudge
     from cookincanuk

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8 pan and line with parchment paper.

In a medium heat-proof bowl, combine:
     1 can sweetened condensed milk
     1 tsp vanilla
     8 oz (225g) chocolate (bittersweet would be better than semi-sweet, which is all I had)
     1 c Nutella, rm temp
     3 Tbsp butter, rm temp, in small pieces

Place the bowl on top of a pot of gently simmering water – make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.  Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and ingredients are combined smoothly, 5 to 7 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the lined pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with flakes of sea salt.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

When fudge has set, slice into small squares (this is easier if you heat a sharp knife under hot water and then dry it well), and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

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