• fudge for octocon
    Daily Life

    Kitsnacks: Catie’s Vegan Fudge & Marshmallow Cream recipes

    Okay, what follows are my recipes for vegan chocolate fudge, which requires homemade marshmallow fluff made with aquafaba, which is the fancy name for chickpea water.

    Do not ask me why chickpea water froths up into a great meringue. This is beyond my knowledge. It works, though.

    If you’re looking for something that’s just dairy-free but you’re not allergic to eggs, you can use regular marshmallow cream and save yourself a step, but this recipe goes Full Vegan.

    Catie’s Vegan Marshmallow Cream
    1/2 c sugar
    1/4 c water
    3/4 c corn syrup (lighter in color the better)
    1/4 c aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
    1 tsp vanilla

    Mix sugar, water, and 1/2 c corn syrup in a stainless steel pan. Cook to 245 degrees F (firm ball) and cool for 15 minutes. While it’s cooling, place aquafaba and the remaining 1/2 c of corn syrup in a metal bowl and mix to a standing froth. Pour, and by pour I mean ‘dribble in a thin stream’ in the sugar syrup VERY, VERY SLOWLY, while running the mixer constantly, and mix until the creme is light and fluffy and of marshmallow-creme-like consistency. This takes AT LEAST several minutes, even with a stand mixer. Add the vanilla in near the end.

    Jar or can (or put in the fridge in the bowl, which is what I did).

    Do not cover until cold.

    Catie’s Vegan Chocolate Fudge
    3 c sugar
    2/3 c coconut cream, well-mixed
    3/4 c 100% plant-based margarine
    1/2 tsp salt
    12oz DARK dairy-free dark chocolate
    2 c aquafaba marshmallow creme
    1 tsp vanilla

    Mix sugar, coconut cream and margarine in a sturdy stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stir like a son of a bitch until the chocolate is entirely melted. Add vanilla and stir in. Add marshmallow creme and repeat the stirring like a son of a bitch until the creme is thoroughly mixed in.

    Pour into a 9×13″ margarined pan and allow to cool. Cut before it’s entirely cool, but not when it’s too warm.

    The full-length, many-notes-and-comments-incorporated how-to for the process is posted with my basic fudge recipe. :)

    ***

    For those of you who’ve had my fudge, this vegan version is AT LEAST 85% as good as the fully loaded stuff. I’ve fed this to people without telling them & they didn’t know it wasn’t the regular stuff.

    fudge for octocon
    fudge for octocon

  • fudge for octocon
    Daily Life

    Kitsnacks: Catie’s Basic Fudge Recipe

    FUDGE:
    3 c sugar
    2/3 c evaporated milk
    3/4 c butter or margarine
    1/2 tsp salt
    12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
    2 c marshmallow creme (or 1 small jar marshmallow creme)
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/2 c walnuts if desired

    NOTES: for persons in Ireland or UK who wish to make this, the sugar must must be caster sugar; granulated makes grainy fudge. Boo, hiss. Also, semi-sweet chocolate is called plain chocolate with about a 54-60% chocolate content here, so you’d be using 12oz/2 cups of chopped plain chocolate instead. I frequently end up using 6oz darker chocolate & 6oz milk because it’s gotten harder to find plain chocolate. DO NOT use milk chocolate only, because the fudge will end up not even tasting like chocolate. It’s nasty.

    If you’re in Dublin you can buy marshmallow creme (also called fluff) at the Candy Lab in Temple Bar, sometimes at Fallon & Byrne, and, quite randomly, at the Fresh grocery store on Camden Street. If you are not in Dublin/can’t find marshmallow creme, a recipe for it is at the bottom of this increasingly long post.

    It is particularly important in Ireland (& possibly the UK, IDK) to use margarine instead of butter because the fat content in butter here is much higher than in the States and it wants very badly to burn when you’re making fudge. Margarine takes longer to burn, does not affect the taste, and is a much safer bet, especially for a novice fudge-maker.

    Sugar cannot melt properly in non-stick pans, so it really has to be a stainless steel saucepan.

    Years of experience assure me that the best and easiest way to make fudge is to have every single item you’re going to need pre-prepared: butter the pan ahead of time, have the bag of chips open (or the chocolate chopped) and sitting ready to be poured in, have the vanilla measured out, have the creme measured out/the jar opened & the inner seal taken off. Everything has to happen quite quickly at the end, before the sugar mixture loses its heat, so you really have to have everything prepared.

    PREPARATION:

    Mix sugar, milk and butter in a sturdy stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stir like a son of a bitch until the chocolate is entirely melted. Add marshmallow creme and repeat the stirring like a son of a bitch until the creme is thoroughly mixed in. Add vanilla, and if you like walnuts, add them; repeat the stirring until it’s all smooth and lovely.

    Pour into a 9×13″ buttered pan and allow to cool. Cut before it’s entirely cool, but not when it’s too warm.

    Peanut butter fudge can be made by substituting a cup of peanut butter instead of 2 cups of chocolate.

    Generally speaking it takes some practice to get the fudge consistency just right. I’m very good at it (I said modestly). If you cook it too long it gets hard and crumbly; too short a time and it’s squishy. I usually start the timer when the sugar mix hits a rolling boil, cook for five minutes, then give it another 20 seconds to make sure it was *really* a rolling boil when I began. :) And you really do need to stir constantly, and scrape the pan sides, because the whole mix will burn very easily and quickly if you don’t. :)

    MARSHMALLOW CREME:
    (Frankly, I don’t recommend this unless you’ve got a stand mixer.)

    1/2 c sugar
    1/4 c water
    3/4 c corn syrup (lighter in color the better)
    1/4 c egg whites (like…2 egg whites)
    1 tsp vanilla

    Mix sugar, water, and 1/2 c corn syrup in a stainless steel pan. Cook to 245 degrees F (firm ball) and cool for 15 minutes. While it’s cooling, place egg whites and the remaining 1/2 c of corn syrup in a metal bowl and mix to a standing froth. Pour, and by pour I mean ‘dribble in a thin stream’ in the sugar syrup VERY, VERY SLOWLY, while running the mixer constantly, and mix until the creme is light and fluffy and of marshmallow-creme-like consistency. This takes AT LEAST several minutes, even with a stand mixer. Add the vanilla in near the end.

    Jar or can (or put in the fridge in the bowl, which is what I did).

    Do not cover until cold.

  • Daily Life

    Kitsnacks: Pecan Pie (updated)

    My husband is starting a new job on Tuesday (a promotion! Yay!), & upon hearing he was leaving, his coworkers offered the appropriate congratulations and speeches of woe, the latter of which included, “b..b..but…but…pecan pie…???”

    So I’m making them a pecan pie, & have finally perfected my process for the recipe I invented several years ago. It is as follows, although it should be noted that I tend to make deep-dish pies, and for your average 9″ pie this should probably be cut in half. Or you should make two. Also an excellent option. :)

    CATIE’S PECAN PIE
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 tbsp molasses
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup butter
    1/8 cup water
    4 eggs, room temperature
    2 tbsp all purpose flour
    1 tbsp milk
    1 tsp vanilla
    4 cups pecans, chopped

    First off, spray a measuring spoon with cooking spray or something so the molasses will come out of it easily, otherwise you’ll be here all day. Don’t worry about being too exact with it, though. If it’s two tablespoons, ain’t nobody gonna cry. After some experimenting on my end, though, be a bit cautious in going too far over that, because molasses is a very strong flavor and can get a little sharp in the background of the pie.

    Melt the butter in a small saucepan with the sugars, molasses, and water. Bring it to a low boil; we’re just trying to make sure the sugars aren’t crystallized in your custard. Okay? Okay. Good.

    Put the pan aside to cool a little while while you make your crust & custard. And look. The custard? What I’m gonna describe is ever so slightly finicky. I know, I know, does it REALLY matter? But it does, because this keeps the flour from lumping. So trust me, okay? Okay. Good.

    Put the flour in a medium-small bowl. Add the milk & vanilla. Whisk these 3 ingredients into a paste. It’ll only take a minute and the vanilla will make it smell good.

    Break one egg in. Whisk it in completely before doing the next, and the next, and the next, and the last.

    I know, I know. Does it REALLY matter? I’ve made this pie a dozen times. Tonight’s custard turned out better than any other I’ve done, because I used this process. Trust me. Trust me.

    I’m assuming you already chopped your pecans up. If you didn’t, go ahead and do that. Or don’t, as you prefer. I actually like to chop about, IDK, 2/3rds of them? And then leave the rest verging on whole, for Big Chunks Of Pecan. Om nom nom.

    Make your pie crust (go on, it’s not that scary. Give it a try).

    Then pour the warm sugar mix into the custard, and listen, amis. Again, this is sort of a pain, but it’s the Right Thing To Do: drizzle it in while whisking briskly.

    Obviously it takes longer that way, sure, of course it does. But you don’t want to cook the egg with the warm sugar mix, so go slowly. We’re only talking 2-3 minutes anyway, not, like, an hour. Enjoy the scent, bc it’s gonna smell SO GOOD. All that butter & molasses. Mmmm.

    Then pour your pecans in & mix until they’re thoroughly covered. Do not, for the love of heaven, whisk them in. I keep doing that and then there’s goddamn pecans stuck in the goddamn whisk and nobody’s happy. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Okay? Okay. Good.

    Oh, shit, I told you to preheat the oven, right? Right, go back up to the top and preheat it. 425°F, A Hot Oven. Et voila, by the time you get this far, your oven is preheated. Great.

    Pour your pecan custard into the pie shell & put it in the oven. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

    REDUCE THE HEAT to 325°F. Bake for at least another 30 minutes, probably more like 45, until a fork inserted in the centre comes out clean.

    Allow to cool. Eat with whipped cream or ice cream, as you like it.

    Ted says this is the best pecan pie he’s ever had. I hope it’s the best you’ve ever had, too.

  • Daily Life

    Kitsnacks: Raisin Bar Cookies

    These, like every other molasses cookie I’ve ever had, are incredibly addictive, and are a family favorite that I don’t make all that often because (I realized as I was making them) the dough isn’t nearly as good to eat raw as chocolate chip cookie dough is. :)

    Raisin Bar Cookies
    3/4 c butter
    1 c sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/4 c molasses
    3 3/4 c flour
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp ginger
    1 c raisins
    1 c powdered sugar
    2-3 tbsp water

    Cream butter & sugar. Add eggs & beat thoroughly. Add vanilla & molasses & beat thoroughly. Mix in dry ingredients & stir in raisins.

    Spread the dough evenly on a GREASED 10×15″ baking sheet, or 2 smaller ones.

    Bake 12-15 minutes at 350°F.

    Allow to cool in-pan for several minutes, but not entirely. Mix powdered sugar & water into a thin, but not watery, icing. Spread on warm cookies, allow to cool completely, & cut into bars.

    Chef’s Notes:
    1. I use a pretty generous cup of raisins, if you wanna know the truth.

    2. These are easy to both under-bake and over-bake and neither is nearly as nice as Just Right (I feel other cookies have more wiggle room in that regard, but not these ones). Keep an eye on ’em.

    3. Long experience tells me that a silicone baking brush is best for spreading the icing over these things, so if you’ve got one, use that.

  • Daily Life

    Kitsnacks: Maple & Brown Sugar Apple Butter

    I revamped my maple apple butter recipe entirely this year and it is Good. A big part of the difference is I was using eating apples, because that’s what I had this time instead of super sour cooking apples, and it takes much less maple and sugar to overcome the sourness with sweet apples. I did use about five tart apples in this, too, and would recommend that, my own self. So:

    Miz Kit’s Maple & Brown Sugar Apple Butter

    15-20 prepared (peeled, cored, sliced) apples
    1.5 c apple juice
    8 oz maple syrup
    1/2 c brown sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Put apples and apple juice into a large pot, cover, and boil until the apples are soft (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Puree the mix in a blender/food processor/whatever until smooth. Turn into a deep, flat enamal-lined pan & put into a pre-heated oven at 325°F (150°C, 130°C fan assisted) and roast, stirring very occasionally, for 1-2 hours, until the puree has reduced by half.

    Remove from oven. Stir in syrup, sugar and salt. Return to oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring slightly more frequently. Add cinnamon just before jarring; mix well, and jar as you usually would.

    This is, frankly, a much better recipe than the old one. You can, of course, still use very sour apples, but taste the mix as it reduces to see if it’s sweet enough, and if not, add more brown sugar.