Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cubicle kitchen: Dark Chocolate Chai Fudge

For my manager's birthday, I decided to make something tasty.  But not a cake with candles for blowing out.  Not as obviously celebratory, but just as delicious.

The first thing I knew was that it would have to be fudge, because those are always the treats that make her come by my cube and declare it the 'best thing ever'.  And based on one of her favorite beverages, I wanted to try a new technique with my tried and true fudge recipe that I've been thinking about for a while.

That twist is chai tea.  Getting chai flavor into fudge poses some challenges.  Generally, to get tea flavor into something, you could steep some strong brew and add that in place of some of the liquid, but the closest thing to liquid is sweetened condensed milk, and I don't even want to imagine the sticky mess that would result from putting a tea bag into that ooey gooey stuff.

And so, I took the simplest fudge recipe ever...and complicated it.  But it was totally worth it.  What I did was, I made my own sweetened condensed milk.  After all, it's just milk and sugar, reduced down.  And chai is sometimes steeped in milk rather than water.  So why not?  Sure, it takes an extra hour or so to put it together, but it's not actually that much more difficult.  And it's flexible enough to work with all kind of other flavors, so I'm excited to have expanded my fudge possibilities.

Dark Chocolate Chai Fudge
(Using an adaption of Foodie Fiasco's Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk)
Makes a pan (depending on how thick you want the squares, the pan can be smaller or bigger)

  • 2 cups of milk*
  • 4 bags chai tea
  • 1 scoop (3 tablespoons) Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Latte mix
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • Pinches of chai spices: cinnamon, clove, ginger, etc.
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
* You can use whatever milk, dairy or non-dairy, you like.  I used half fat-free milk and half Unsweetened Almond Breeze Coconut Almond Milk
  1. Steep tea bags in milk over a medium-high heat in a pot.  Whisk in remaining ingredients as the milk comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove tea bags after about 30 minutes, or until steeped as strongly as you prefer.  Continue to simmer.
  3. When the mixture has reduced by half, turn off the heat.  For me this was an hour, I decided that it was ready when as I stirred the mixture it was thick enough to see the bottom for a moment before it flowed back. Cover the pot with a kitchen towel and let sit for ten minutes to thicken.  Store covered in the fridge, or use immediately.  You should have about a cup of condensed milk.
  4. Pour chocolate chips into microwavable bowl.  Stir in condensed milk.
  5. Microwave at half power for 30 seconds at a time until all of the chocolate has melted, stirring after each heating.
  6. Pour fudge into a prepared pan and place in fridge to set.  Cut into squares.

Additional:  I also sprinkled on brown sugar crumbs I saved when I made my Sugar and Spice Nuts.

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