Friday, October 03, 2008

Rum and coconut fudge!... I mean, truffles.

The story goes like so: ever since I made that rum and cashew fudge the other week, I've had it in my head to make some coconut fudge. As you may recall, I was too much of a wuss to handle the rum content of the recipe. And as I was thinking of other liquids to replace some of the rum I hit upon - you guessed it - coconut milk. Creamy, fatty, and rich, what better milk could there be to accompany chocolate?

Thinking about the recipe further, I decided that since it's really equal parts chocolate and sugar, some of that chocolate could probably stand to be unsweetened. The resulting fudge would undoubtedly still be quite sweet, just not as sweet. I had some shredded coconut in the cabinet that I resolved to use in place of nuts, and would throw in just a smidge of coconut extract to make sure that the flavor came through.

As for the rum, you may be thinking that I'd use coconut rum. Well, no. See, me and coconut rum have this longstanding rivalry. And unfortunately for me, every time we get into a fight the coconut rum wins. (Bitch.) As such, it's not something we keep around the house. So rum wise, it's Bacardi Gold all the way. I mean, it's got a giant bat on it. How many of your liquors have depictions of flying mammals on their labels and caps, I ask you? Go ahead and check. I'll wait.

Lastly, I decided that the recipe should be larger, and should have measurements that make more sense to my feeble little mind. At the end, I came up with the following:

* * *

Rum and Coconut Fudge!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup unsweetened baker's chocolate, coarsely chopped and then measured (about 5 squares)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (measure a bit generously with chunks)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 tsp. coconut or vanilla extract
Method:
  • Melt all chocolate together without overheating; let cool to room temperature.
  • Whisk together sugar with rum, coconut, and extract.
  • Mix in coconut.
  • Add in melted chocolate, and mix well.
  • Pour into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper, and smooth until an even layer is formed.
  • Refrigerate for several hours until firm, then cut and serve.

*It should be noted that this recipe, while of my own design, is based heavily on the whiskey peanut fudge of the brilliant Celine, author of the blog Have Cake, Will Travel.

* * *

Well. Did you really think I was gonna do this without pictures? Puh-lease. I think we know better.


Naturally I started by melting my chocolate, since waiting for it to cool is arguably the most time-consuming part of this whole process. I like to melt in my fancy-ass double boiler, which I bought during one of my baking fits last winter. However, melt how you wanna; just don't boil it or nuthin'.

I whisked up my liquids with my sugar to make a delicious rummy paste. Not that I would taste a mixture that's basically nothing but sugar and rum and coconut milk; no, not I. Mixing in the shredded coconut, the paste became more of a slop. Mmm, delicious slop. If you're less than a wuss than I and want a fudge with more punch, you can reverse the quantities of coconut milk and rum.

Pouring in the chocolate, I felt like I was creating the world's largest Mounds bar... so that then the heathens will all bow to me! ME! FINALLY, the key to world domination is within my grasp!!! Muaa haa haa haaaa! No seriously though, isn't that gorgeous? The adding chocolate stage is when the stuff in the bowl leaves whisk territory and enters spatula territory, bigtime.

When all mixed, the homogeny was all beautiful and glistening at me like a big chocolaty coconutty glistening beautiful thing. Or possibly like a rum and coconut truffle the size of my head.

Don't be sad, empty parchment, for soon you will be filled with ultimate goodness! (I've never used parchment paper before, but it's been hinted at that it's the best way for dealing with fudge. Can you tell that I'm a novice? I mean, am I like doing it completely wrong or anything? I left little flaps on the sides to make it easier to pull out of the pan... It seemed to make sense to me...)

And here we have the full and happy pan, and into the fridge it went to see if it would firm up big and strong for me like a good strapping young fudge should. (Sorry, I've been reading Dickens, and I think my mind has been addled.)

* * *
Long hours pass.

* * *

Upon reflection, an inconsistency has become evident to me... mainly that I only put in one cup of powdered sugar instead of two.

Before this revelation, I was suspicious that perhaps I'd done something wrong in my recipe: included too much liquid, perhaps. After an hour, there was little evidence of firming. After an hour and a half there was slight firming happening, but nothing all that heartening. (It was around this time that I realized my omittance, and concluded that if there was a problem it was likely due to the fact that I'd left out half of the dry goods.) After two hours and fifteen minutes it was firm-ish; like, I couldn't put my finger right through it as if it were liquid. But... (In case you're wondering, YES, I am the girl that peeked in your oven one too many times and made your cupcakes collapse in the middle.)

While this error may prove to be catastrophic, it is still too soon to say. It won't be until tomorrow morning that I pull the fudge out and try to cut it.

* * *

The Next Morning (OK, fine, The Next Afternoon Around 3PM... It's not my fault; I'm sick...)

* * *

Well. It seems that the omission of half the necessary sugar was indeed fatal to the texture, if not the flavor, of my fudge. What to do, what to do? Well you know what they say. When life gives you lemons... make rum and coconut truffles. Apparently my vision of a truffle the size of my head was, in its way, vaguely prophetic.

* * *

I decided to convert my way-too-soft fudge into ball form, and to pretend I'd always meant it to be like that. Yeah, totally. I just smoothed it out in a sheet so that it would cool faster, duh.

I sliced the sheet into appropriate balling portions - rectangles about 1" x 2", as the stuff was about a centimeter thick.

At first I thought I'd cover the sticky orbs in coconut, but that wasn't quite working out; the shreds were more just sinking in rather than creating a coating. So then I tried using the method intrinsic to the inspiration for this path - my mother's Christmas rum balls - and worked on coating them in powdered sugar. That didn't seem to be quite right either though. So I struck upon a compromise, and mixed my powdered sugar with my coconut. And that turned out to be just right.

Rolling a fudge-like product into balls and coating it with a powdered sugar and coconut mix is an extremely sticky, messy process, and if you're going to try this at home be prepared to have very dirty hands and a demolished counter. In the end, though, you'll get a rum and coconut truffle that looks a little something like this:



And so, my fudge recipe failed - or rather, I failed it. As truffles though it worked quite nicely, and earned the approval of the fiance. The recipe - the one including only one cup of powdered sugar, that is - will yield a good three dozen little amuses-bouche I think.

I'm fairly confident that, with the proper amount of sugar added, this recipe would firm quite nicely into actual cutable servable fudge. And I fully intend to try it out and show you the results... just as soon as I finish eating the pound of truffles currently sitting in my refrigerator.

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