Making goodies for a local friends holiday treat swap; my choice is usually fudge. (Real fudge, the boiled sugar kind.) The ingredients are cheap, it doesn't require making a lot of dirty dishes or heating up the oven. There's almost infinite variety of flavours. You can scale the recipe up and down trivially. And people frigging love it.
What's new this time is that we don't have a cooktop. (I may have mentioned this before.) Not even a hot plate. What we do have is an Instant Pot. Turns out the IP's sauté function turns the thing into a versatile stovetop pot simulant. There are three temperature settings more or less corresponding to low, medium and high heat on a modest burner. The pot insert is heavy so even with the bang-bang thermostatic control, there's good thermal inertia for the ingredients. Anyway, so, yeah, making fudge with an IP. It's a thing.
First batch was a buttercream. 3c sugar, 1 cup 10% cream, 1/2c butterscotch ice cream, 1tbs butter, pinch of salt.
Second batch was a lactose-free maple. 3c sugar, 1/4c dark-ass maple syrup, 1c almond milk, 1tbs butter, tsp corn syrup, 1/2tsp maple flavour, pinch of salt.
Tonight I'll be making chocolate, which will probably be something like 2c sugar, 1c semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cocoa, 1c cream, and a pinch of salt, toss in some vanilla once it's cooled.
And tomorrow it'll be Saskatoonberry cream, most likely 2.5c sugar, 1c Saskberry jam blended with 1c cream, and a pinch of salt.
How I fudge with an Instant Pot:
- Put the stuff that needs cooked in the insert, stir it up, and set sauté program on low until it starts to bubble, stirring occasionally.
- Stir a bit, scrape down the sides, then set sauté program to medium.
- Get your candy thermometer out and watch it like a hawk until you reach 234F then immediately turn off the IP.
- Remove the insert and put it on a trivet to cool, somewhere it will absolutely not be fucked with in any way.
- Wait about an hour, during which time you prepare your fudge receiving tray. I use a large springform pan with the removable bottom wrapped in clingfilm, strapped in tight. A little oil on the sides to help.
- Get your rubber spatula, toss in any adjuncts that don't want boiled or melted, then pick up the insert and tilt it and start beating the crap out of the fudge mixture.
- After about 2-3 minutes (may be more, may be less) it will get harder to stir and that's not just your arm, because you can see the shiny surface of the sugar is starting to look a little bit dull here and there.
- Immediately pour it all into the tray, scraping out everything.
- Let the tray cool for a couple hours until it fully sets, then if you are me you can pop open the springform and gently peel the plastic off a pizza-sized circle of fudge. Divide and place into a reasonably airtight container.
- Fudge tastes better the next day.
Scraping out the bits from the instant pot is cook's privilege, though of course you can assign the chore to anyone you'd like to have a sugar rush.