Sunday, December 13, 2009
Back in pastry school, I learned how to make cobblestone chocolates, which were little discs of chocolate topped with dried fruit and nuts. They were a bit tricky to make but they looked so amazing and they tasted absolutely divine.
I remember it took two people to make them because you had to place the toppings just at the right moment after piping the chocolate. Timing was everything. If you placed them too early, the fruits and nuts would sink; if you wait too long, the chocolate would set and the toppings won't stick at all. As if that wasn't enough work for you, chocolate is very temperamental. If you don't temper the chocolate just right (heating and cooling it), it will "bloom" (white streaks or spots) or it will not set.
Come holiday time, I always think about wanting to make these beautiful chocolates but I wondered if there was an easier way to make them. Maybe fudge? Oh yes, fudge would be perfect! It won't set as quickly and they will taste creamy and, well, fudgy. I decided to take Rachel Ray's Five Minute Fudge Recipe and tweak it for my cobblestone fudge. The result: an edible and festive work of art.
It is a little bit time-consuming to place the dried fruit and nuts on top of each candy, so you can either round up some help or just mix the dried fruit and nuts into the fudge before portioning them out. You can also pour the fudge in a rectangular baking pan, top with dried fruits and nuts, let it set and then cut into bite-size squares. Whichever way you decide to make them, they will surely be enjoyed by your friends and family.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
Makes about 130 candies
Allergy Note: contains dairy and nuts
12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz. package white chocolate chips
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
6 oz. slivered almonds *
6 oz. pistachios, shelled *
6 oz. dried cranberries
6 oz. golden raisins
* For nut-free alternatives, you can replace the tree nuts with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy nuts, or other dried fruits (apricots, cherries, pineapple, etc.)
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper. Set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and butter. Microwave for 1 minute on HIGH. Stir together until smooth.
Drop a teaspoonful of fudge onto the baking sheet (I used a round measuring spoon and it shaped the fudge really nicely). Top the fudge with an almond, a pistachio, a dried cranberry and a golden raisin. Repeat until all the candies have been formed. If the fudge fudge starts to set and harden in the bowl, just pop it in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds and stir it until smooth. Let the fudge set and be solid before transferring.
Keep candies in a airtight container in the refrigerator.