I’ve always loved eggnog; however, my taste for eggnog has never really matured past childhood. If you want to please me during Christmastime (and Christmas ONLY, no other time of year for the ‘nog for me!), then buy me a container. But not the fancy schmancy kind, or dare I say make-your own filled with lots of booze and eggs (*shudder*); nope, only a litre of the…let’s say economical… (i.e. cheap) stuff will do for my apparently 10-year old tastebuds.
My problem is, after I’ve had that one glass of ice-cold, refreshing eggnog, I’m done with it. I don’t want any more. One glass a year does me fine. But then that leaves half of the carton languishing in the fridge until it finally goes bad and I end up pouring it down the sink.
But what if we could use it in sweet baked goods? I mean, it’s a dairy product, it’s kind of thick like buttermilk or table cream, so why not substitute one for the other? I was making a new-to-me recipe for old fashioned golden fudge recently, and as I was prepping my mise en place, I spied my neglected half-full container of eggnog in the fridge, left over from my Christmas festivities. And so I made a game-time decision; my baking experience and knowledge of dairy products gave me a working theory that I could replace something as vital as the dairy in a batch of old-fashioned fudge without ruining it, so I committed to testing out my theory.
Needless to say, with a bit of recipe tweaking on the fly, a little dancing between stations (NEVER try to bake cookies and make fudge at the same time, ask me how I know…) and some light swearing (see previous), it worked! So I’ve updated the recipe to include my amendments and included it below with a few photos (very few; hard to take photos while stirring constantly and moving racks of cookies around); please give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
BONUS! Because of the success of this recipe and my incorrigible change-itis, here are some tweaks you can try for your own custom-flavoured fudge: replacing the cream with Baileys or another creamy alcohol for a nice kick; making it dairy-free by using vegan butter and vegan condensed milk, adding toasted chopped nuts or dried fruit during the hand mixer beating stage…ooh so many possibilities…
A few small notes:
- I highly recommend that you use a candy thermometer, as this needs to boil to a specific temperature called soft-ball stage; any less or more and you will not have fudge
- There are few ingredients in this recipe, so make sure they are as good quality as you can afford (especially the butter), And if you can find golden syrup (a UK import) it’s totally worth it taste-wise
- It’s very important to use a heavy bottomed saucepan for this recipe as it will help minimize scorching the milk solids; use a wooden spoon and have a silicone spatula handy as well to help scrape across the bottom of the pot while stirring (again, to minimize scorching)
- Be patient! Don’t turn up the heat even if you feel like it’s never going to increase to the target temperature (have I mentioned its likelihood of scorching?)
- Fudge is a candy, and candy-making is a hot and sometimes dangerous business (view this article on candy making safety tips and tricks at home)
- Cut the pieces small; it’s hella rich. 😉
YIELD: 16 large pieces, or 25 small pieces | PREP: 5 mins | COOK: 20-30 mins
- 4 cups/752g/27oz granulated sugar
- 1 tin/397g/14oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup/236mL/8oz eggnog, room temperature
- 2 tbsp/30mL/1fl.oz golden corn syrup or golden syrup (derived from cane sugar)
- 1 cup/225g/8oz unsalted butter
- Line an 8″x8″ baking pan with foil, making sure to line the sides of the pan as well. Butter bottom of foil for ease of removal once cooled (optional). Set aside. Set up medium mixing bowl and hand blender on a workspace close-by your stove for best safety and economy of movement.
- Combine all ingredients into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; turn heat to medium-low and affix candy thermometer to side of pan.
- Stirring continuously, bring ingredients to a low boil and cook for 20-30 minutes until mixture reaches soft-ball stage (between 234-240˚F/112-115˚C. Once this temperature has been achieved, immediately remove from heat.
- Using silicone spatula, pour molten candy into mixing bowl and beat with hand mixer for 6-7 minutes.
- Quickly and with confidence, pour mass into prepared foil-lined baking pan; it will stiffen into its final form almost immediately, so do not touch the top to try to smooth it.
- Let it cool in the pan on a cooling rack for a minimum of 30 minutes (though an hour is better), then demould from pan and foil onto a cutting board; using a large, sharp knife, cut into pieces.
Keep fudge covered, wrapped in waxed paper, at room temperature for 3-5 days. Can be frozen, wrapped well in waxed paper and foil, for 3-6 months.