Mexican Fudge, in fact any spicy Mexican Chocolate, is awesome for spicy food lovers. The spicy pepper flavor, usually combined with cinammon, is a perfect compliment for the rich chocolate.
And here’s a little known secret about why these two work so well together:
The chemical that makes peppers hot is fat soluble. That’s why water doesn’t help much to take the fire away. But a pat of butter, a sip of whole milk, or (best of all) a nice piece of chocolate will carry the heat away before it becomes too annoying.
Back in my misspent youth, I entered a few jalapeno-eating contests, and that knowledge was my secret weapon. If I could hold out long enough, the butter and saltine crackers that were commonly available in the restaurants of the day would save me from permanent nerve damage.
Chili Fudge is great year-around, but I typically make it for the Holiday Season.
What’s the difference between chocolate and fudge?
Did you ever wonder?
Well, for starters, you can have fudge that has no chocolate in it, though chocolate is the most common flavor for fudge. That’s telling you right there that fudge is a particular kind of thing that’s different than chocolate.
Fudge is made from milk, sugar, butter, and a flavoring agent. It’s goal is to create a wonderful malleable texture that’s not nearly so brittle nor so subject to easily melting, as chocolate. A more user-friendly candy than regular chocolate, in other words.
Let’s get on with making our Chili Fudge to see how this is done.
Bob’s No-Jalapeno Chili Fudge
You can go with a variety of agents when it comes to providing the heat behind chili fudge. Jalapenos and even super-hot Habanero Chocolate Fudge are all possibilities. For my guests, who are often not in the mood to test their manhood (especially the ladies) by eating fudge, I prefer to use Cayenne Pepper.
It’s easy to regulate the degree of heat reliably and it does the job of richening the flavor nicely.
Enough for an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan of fudge:
One can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or more, if you want to kick it up a notch)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 lb milk or dark chocolate (use chips, pastilles or pieces you’ve cut)
Start by lining the cooking pan with waxed paper. We do this so we can get the fudge back out of the pan easily once it has set up.
For the rest of it, we will be cooking the fudge with the typical double-boiler setup so often used when making candy or working with chocolate:
Double Boiler: One pan set atop a pan of simmering water…
By heating water and then letting the water heat our chocolate, we keep temperatures stable. Candy can be very finicky if it gets too hot or too cold, so stability is key.
Start out by blending the salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, and the sweetened condensed milk with a whisk.
Put that mixture atop the double boiler. Slowly add the butter and chocolate, melting small batches as you go. Keep stirring occasionally as it melts.
When everything is blended and smooth, take it off the double boiler. I like to touch the bottom to a towel so as not to get any water into our fudge.
Pour it into the wax paper pan and spread it evenly around. Put that pan in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours to set up.
Pull it out and run a hot knife around the edges. I then flip it over a cutting board and sharly rap the pan bottom to knock the block of fudge out.
Cut the fudge into bit-sized pieces.
I always serve in my salsa bowl so folks have a little advance warning. I also like to put little red sprinkles to further identify the chili fudge.
Play with the heat, you’ll be surprised at how palatable it is even for the average spice-averse.