February’s pretty much here, and with it brings a whole host of pink things. Yep, it’s going to be all hearts and chocolate around here for the next couple of weeks. You may say that all this pink is just me trying to hide from the fact that I’m turning 30 in 5 days.
You’d probably be right.
Let’s kick off the Valentines celebrations with some homemade Cherry Amaretto Fudge. It’s the easy type of fudge that’s made with condensed milk and white chocolate (last seen in my Creme Egg fudge), rather than tricksy little sugar thermometers and the like. All you need to do here is melt the milk, chocolate, and a bit of butter together, and then add in some reduced amaretto and a few dried cherries. Sprinkle with flaked almonds, and job done.
A couple of things to note:
1 – Don’t go crazy with the stirring during the melting process. I’ve learnt from past mistakes here, and if you keep stirring and stirring then it has a tendency to separate. Instead, melt together on a low heat, and just give it the occasional stir to stop things burning.
2 – It will look pretty unappetising during the melting process. There will come a stage where the mixture looks all lumpy and weird, and you will start to think that everything’s gone horribly wrong. It hasn’t! Give it a bit more time.
The amaretto flavouring comes from a whole cup of actual amaretto, which is reduced down to about one third of a cup. Never reduced alcohol down before? It’s incredibly simple. Just pour the amaretto into a small saucepan, and heat on a medium-low temperature. It will start bubbling gently – and then you just leave it. I like to give it an occasional stir (just because I’m paranoid) but it pretty much takes care of itself. Word of warning though: don’t leave it unattended and forget about it. I’ve been there (with half a bottle of champagne) and it’s mortifying when you return to discover a dry saucepan. Yep, half a bottle of champagne evaporated away to nothing.
I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.
I’m recommending you use dried sour cherries for this cherry amaretto fudge, as the sweet glace kind are a bit too sickly. You need something tart to cut through all that white chocolate and almond flavour. I also dipped some of my fudge squares in milk chocolate (it’s all I had to hand) but dark chocolate would be even better. Or if you want to be even more sappy then cut out little fudge hearts with a heart-shaped cutter. I’m not that sappy.
Something to note – every time I wrote the word ‘amaretto’ in today’s post, what I actually typed was ‘amaretoo’. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It’s been a long day.
- 240ml (1 cup) amaretto
- 397g (14oz) sweetened condensed milk (one normal sized can)
- 600g (21.1oz) good quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 50g (¼ cup) unsalted butter
- Pink or red food colouring (I used gel)
- 150g (3/4 cup) dried cherries, chopped into halves
- 50g (2/3 cup) flaked almonds
- Dark or milk chocolate to dip (optional)
- Pour the amaretto into a small saucepan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until reduced down to about 80ml (1/3 cup). Whilst the amaretto is reducing, line an 8 inch square pan with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Set the reduced amaretto aside whilst you make the fudge.
- Put the condensed milk, white chocolate, and butter into a medium sized saucepan, and heat on a low temperature, stirring occasionally to avoid the chocolate catching. Do not stir too vigorously or frequently, or you might split thee mixture (I'm speaking from experience here).
- Once the chocolate has completely melted, remove from the heat.
- Add the reduced amaretto and stir until completely mixed into the fudge. Add a little bit of food colouring and stir into the mixture, until you've reached a nice pink colour. Stir in the chopped dried cherries and most of the flaked almonds, leaving a sprinkling of almonds for later.
- Pour the fudge into the pre-prepared tin, and smooth out so that the top is as flat as possible. Sprinkle the remaining flaked almonds on top. Put the fudge in the fridge to set for at least four hours - I usually leave overnight. Once set, remove from the fridge and cut into squares using a sharp knife. If wanted, melt some dark or milk chocolate, and then dip the fudge squares into it, and leave to set on a piece of baking parchment.
- Keep the fudge in an air-tight container in a cool dry place for 1-2 weeks. If stored in the fridge, it may last for 3-4 weeks. The squares of fudge can be frozen for 2-3 months.