Autumn’s coming in New England. You can absolutely smell it in the air. The nights are starting to get just a wee bit crisp here on the coast. I’m starting to eye my sweaters and think about apple picking.
The surest sign of all that the weather’s starting to turn? I just made my first batch of braised short ribs the other night.
You know the temperature’s starting to drop when you find me in my kitchen in the evenings, nestled in by the stove with a glass of wine and a book while my big red cast-iron pot bubbles merrily away in the background.
(I’ve also started to pull down some of my cookbooks and root around for stick-to-your-ribs, cold weather fare. Stay tuned for a lot of hearty food.)
Mmmm, hot fudge
I’m gonna say this up front: It’s not my fault if you sit down and eat a bowl of this with a spoon, ok?
This recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine’s chocolate issue. It’s good, old-fashioned hot fudge sauce, the way your grandmother used to make it.
This stuff will stiffen up in the fridge
That’s fine. Just leave it out on the counter to start to soften up, then zap it in the microwave or melt it in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. (It’s hot fudge, after all, so you were going to warm it up anway…)
Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce
From Fine Cooking magazine
6 Tbls. unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT sweetened hot chocolate mix)
1/3 cup boiling water
3 Tbls. butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tbls. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Yields about 1 1/2 cups hot fudge
Make the fudge mixture
Set a kettle of water on the stove to boil over high heat.
Put the cocoa powder in a small pot. (Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not hot chocolate mix that has sugar in it…)
When your water is boiling, measure it out. Pour about half of the boiling water into the pot with the cooca.
Stir until it forms a thick paste.
Add the rest of the water and the butter. Stir well. It will kind of look like a lumpy disaster at this point. That’s just fine. Keep going, it will smooth out as it heats up.
Set on the stove over medium heat.
Add the sugar and the corn syrup. (I like Karo brand corn syrup. If you can’t find corn syrup, try using Lyle’s Golden Syrup.)
Stir to incorporate.
(See, it’s starting to look better, right?)
Keep the mixture on the stove over medium heat and start to bring it up to a simmer.
Brush down the sides of the pot with water
This is important, so don’t skip this step.
As the mixture comes up to a simmer, brush down the insides of the pot with water to dissolve any rogue sugar crystals. (If you remember your high school science, one crystal will breed more, which will eventually turn your fudge sauce into solid candy.)
Use a pastry brush dipped in a little cold water.
Cook the sauce for 8 minutes
When the mixture comes up to a simmer, set a kitchen timer for 8 minutes. Simmer the sauce without stirring for the whole 8 minutes.
You may need to adjust the heat up or down a little, depending on your stove. Basically, you want to keep the mixture at a good simmer/low boil.
When your 8 minutes are up, remove the pan from the stove.
Add the vanilla
Stir the vanilla into the sauce with a clean wooden spoon (again, you want to avoid any pesky, undissolved sugar crystals).
And…voila! Hot fudge sauce.