Like clockwork, December arrives and the desire to make fudge is almost as strong as my craving to eat it. I think fudge is a perfect metaphor for December: intense, sweet, rich. Multum in parvo, translated ‘a great deal in a small space‘.
That’s exactly how I’d describe this cranberry-orange fudge which is packed with strips of fat sticky orange peel and tart dried cranberries. The fruit is suspended in creamy white chocolate candy, and slicing it into squares is real neat. You get a different cross-section design of orange peel and cranberry with each piece.
This recipe relies on precious few ingredients, so quality chocoalte is important. Valrhona Ivoire and other white chocolate pistoles with at least 30% cocoa butter will make this fudge extra special. However, quality bars of white chocolate are easy to locate in well-stocked grocery stores. Finely chop any of these: Green and Black’s, Lindt Swiss White Chocolate, Ghiradelli White Chocolate.
The white chocolate is mixed with sweetened condensed milk and then melted over a double boiler (or heated in the microwave if you’re short on time). After mixing in the candied fruit, just pour the mixture in a plastic wrap- lined pan. 8 x 8-inches square is the usual pan size called for, but I always use my Le Creuset 7×5-inch dish.
You can’t get much simpler than fudge made with only four ingredients! The flavors truly evoke the essence of the season and I can’t wait to share this candy with the people I love.
Yields 36 pieces
1 pound (16 oz.) quality chocolate, finely chopped
14.5 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup (6 oz.) candied orange peel strips
1 cup (4 oz.) dried cranberries
Coarse sanding sugar, optional
Line an 8-inch square pan with plastic wrap that overhangs all four edges and coat with cooking spray.
Double boiler method: Place the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a large glass heat-proof bowl or the top bowl of a double boiler. Mix to combine. Set the bowl over a simmering pot of water and heat, stirring constantly until completely melted and consistent.
Microwave directions: Place the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat uncovered in the microwave on high (100% power) in 1-minute increments stirring well between each, until melted and smooth. This will take about 3 minutes. Be careful; the bowl may get hot.
When the chocolate mixture is melted and smooth, add the orange peel and cranberries. Fold together with a rubber spatula. Immediately pour the candy into the prepared pan, pressing it down into the corners of the pan using the back of the rubber spatula. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and let chill until set, about 2 hours.
Lift the chilled candy out of the pan by the overhanging plastic wrap; cut the candy slab into pieces using a large chef’s knife.
The fudge may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.