Buttermilk Fudge

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I wanted to get in one last post of homemade Christmas treats before the big day, but like an idiot, forgot to take a picture of the finished result.  Instead of making you wait a while year for this, I will post now. 

The fudge is delicious, and don't be afraid of buttermilk.  You won't even know it's in there.  This recipe is a real, old fashioned fudge that is cooked on your stove top and one for which you need a candy thermometer.  Those are found anywhere, including Wal-Mart and only cost about $3. 

When you start out, everything looks like this:

When you're near the end, the sugars have carmelized and look like this:

Isn't it beautiful?!  Then you pour it into a buttered loaf pan and let it cool.  The taste is creamy, intense, and sort of caramely.  It was probably one of the biggest hits of my homemade items last year. 

A few tips if you make this fudge: 

1.  Follow the instructions completely.  That may seem dumb to state, but candy making is like baking.  It's more an exact science.

2.  Don't try this on a day with precipitation or an overly humid day.  Candy doesn't like a lot of atmospheric moisture. 

Buttermilk Fudge
from Southern Living

2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 Tb. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Butter the sides of a heavy saucepan or dutch oven (4-5 qt).  Add the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda and heat over medium heat about 20 minutes or until the candy thermometer reads 235 degrees F.  Stir constantly during this phase.  Remove from the heat and let rest, undisturbed, until the temperature has dropped to 180 degrees.  Add in the vanilla.  Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and loses its gloss.  Add nuts if using.  Pour quickly into a buttered loaf pan.  Cool thoroughly on a wire rack and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Yield 1.25 lb. 

So, now you have four things I think would be great for Christmas presents:
1.  buttermilk fudge
2.  dark chocolate orange truffles
3.  cake balls
4.  granola

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