Winter Chocolate Fudge + Dulce de Leche for The Sweet Swap

… aka Condensed Milk Madness aka Get Me Outta This Confectionary Nightmare aka WHIMSICAL SALVAGE MISSION 101.

Around a week ago I posted this image. You know, Homer’s struggling to make breakfast for Mr Burns and even his cereal catches alight. I believe this series of stills captures my experience from the get go. With our internet personnas often providing a snapshot of only the excellent successes in our lives it’s a good, nice and healthy thing to occasionally acknowledge some undeniable frustrations.

The Sweet Swap is an exploration of generosty and sharing with all registration costs heading straight to Child Fund Australia so to complain too much of my myriad of kitchen fails may be considered in bad taste, however, in times like these all you can do is laugh so here’s the CONDENSED (ha ha ha ha ha) version of my trials and tribulations. For those who don’t know each participant of The Sweet Swap is assigned three random bloggers to post a box of homemade-with-love treats to and, in return, three entirely random sweet care packages will arrive in the mail from three new friends. Community spirit, man.

Embracing notions of ~seasonal produce~ I made some quince caramels on a whim, possibly the best thing I’d ever tasted but I used a little too much butter and I grew concerned for their mail-worthy safety and thus were ditched (into my mouth hole). I then went out and, for my gluten intolerant friend, bought a buttload of fancy flours to bake some cookies; unfortunately twitter alerted me that baked treats were not allowed. So I then attempted to prepare two kinds of jelly (raspberry + elderflower) to create something like the Zumbo fried egg in his book. From pâte de fruit to bombing the mixture with gelatine… it wasn’t happening (evidence of ensuing insanity lies here). So, I swallowed my pride, my awful and entitled my pride, I conquered my biggest fear and turned to… to… Donna Hay for a simple recipe for fudge. One was to be a spicy chocolate the other a boozy white but despite using coverture white chocolate the entire mixture of my first batch errupted into an oily, buttery mess. The heck? I tweaked the recipe and was left with only chocolate fudge. Dulce de leche was prepared as an accompaniment as I’ve made it dozens of times, and, lo and behold, for the first time ever some water escaped into the bain marie making the final product lumpy and imperfect. OH MAN. But at least I got there in the end, albeit modestly.

Lesson learnt: if you haven’t the time to be entirely focused just don’t do thing because confectionary is a harsh mistress and she will make you suffer a disappointing sugar-laden kitchen death when your priorities currently and unfortunately lie elsewhere. But enough with the whinging! Admittedly I was so mad during the cooking (failing) process I barely took any photos so here are some snaps as I was packaging my extraordinary comedy-of-errors. Before that though, and more importantly, I should share my trio of tempered chocolate perfection I very graciously received; panna cotta lamingtons by Simon of The Heart of Food, home made Snickers by Phuoc of Phuoc’n Delicious and Mallow Rough from Chocolate Johnny. No words, guys. Way to make me feel like an epic kitchen amateur in mere mouthfuls. THANK YOU. #blessed

Now for my dinky treats en route to my three recipients Christine of Cooking Crusade, Gareth of Humble Crumble and Martine of Chomp Chomp. I attempted to save them the only way I knew how; cute jars, twine and a post office delivery on my twee-beyond-words bicycle (please forgive me for I have sinned). I’ve linked back to the original recipes but Donna Hay’s fudge recipe may have some butter issues so… maybe go with my directions instead. Furthermore the spices are just an indication as I didn’t measure very well, taste test as everything is melting ok! Here’s how to get kooky with a few tins of humble liquid gold.

Winter Chocolate Fudge
(original recipe by Donna Hay)
400g chocolate, chopped
1x can sweetened condensed milk
150g butter
2 tbs ground mustard seed
1 tbs chili flakes (+ extra for decoration)
2 tsp salt

1. Place the chocolate, condensed milk and spices in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the butter and stir again until everything has completely melted. Taste test and add more spices accordingly. Keep on the heat for a couple more minutes then carefully pour the mixture into a lightly greased 16cm-square tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Smooth over with a palette knife, sprinkle with chili flakes and a little salt and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Remove fudge and cut into small squares and wrap each piece in non-stick baking paper.

Dulce de Leche
(original recipe by The Food Dept.)
2x cans condensed milk
A few pinches of salt (I used a combination of orange + fennel infused and the regular kind).

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a baking dish with salt and stir to combine.
2. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place into a larger baking dish to create a bain marie. Once the oven is ready place the dish in the oven and fill with warm water until almost full.
3. Bake for 1 3/4 hours or until the condensed milk is golden/brown in colour. You’ll need to top up the water in the bain marie every as it evaporates.
4. Remove from oven, (carefully) remove foil and whisk until the dulce de leche is smooth as heck and ready to devour. Store in airtight jars. Adorn with a little extra salt.

Thanks very much to Sara and Amanda for organising the entire project, mammoth effort ladies! I’m looking forward to clearing my schedule in preparation for next year to avoid further disasterchef moments.

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  1. Phuoc'n Delicious’s avatar

    Cute little knife! And lol you actually did deliver your goodies to the post office riding a bike! Oh you hipster you… :p I’m glad you got there in the end, I shouldn’t really laugh at your misfortunes but it was very comical, good on you for putting on a brave and silly-raspberry-jelly-covered face.

    I really am intrigued by your quince caramels, will you be re-making it any time soon?


  2. Helen (Grab Your Fork)’s avatar

    Love the packaging! And transporting it by bike is so appropriately hipster it hurts!


  3. Deepa@onesmallpot’s avatar

    OH goodness you really did have quite the ordeal making these. They look gorge and lovely pics!


  4. Simon @ the heart of food’s avatar

    I assure you the frustrations such that you experienced were shared by many, myself included. Oddly enough, the panna cotta lamington bites was my Plan B, as my Plan A failed spectacularly, in spite of being a simpler recipe.

    You know though, had you not mentioned it, your troubles wouldn’t have been apparent as these look great. love the addition of the little serving knife :)


  5. Mary @ beyondjelly’s avatar

    I wish I knew about your method for dulce de leche before I made my sweet! So much simpler/safer. And I’m in awe of your photos – gorgeous!


  6. Swah’s avatar

    Aww I feel your pain however your pain seemed even worse than mine. Were we cursed? Regardless, the fudge sounds amazing (I have never thought to add mustard and chili to my basic dark chocolate fudge recipe – amazing) and nothing makes someone happier than a jar of homemade dulce de leche :) You got there in the end!


  7. tina @ bitemeshowme’s avatar

    Ha, despite the madness you encountered, it all looks fanastic. Loved the way you packaged them up – so so cute! And loving your photos as alwaysssss!! :D xx


  8. Nessy Eater’s avatar

    LOVE your photos! It’s amazing what you can do with mustard seed and condensed milk! :D :D :D


  9. Rachel’s avatar

    I love that you had all those misfortunes; because I’m evil and now my failures don’t seem as bad? Hah but really as if that beautiful package is the result of kitchen failures. Your kitchen failures>my kitchen successes.

    These are so cute and I love the shot of all of the sweets with bites taken out of them, it’s like you got the perfect sweets for the picture/did you set that up (jealous).


  10. Monica’s avatar

    Just when I thought I couldn’t take on any more sugar… Your fudge and dulce… I love the savoury accents in the fudge :) I now also want some dulce de leche… I loved the sound of your quince caramels too!


  11. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef’s avatar

    I love your blog and your photography. I feel great envy. :)

    Your fudge sounds wonderful too.


  12. milkteaxx’s avatar

    omgsh im kicking myself for missing out on this! this looks amazing!


  13. Christine @ Cooking Crusade’s avatar

    Thank you so much for making these amazingly delicious treats to send to me, I loved them and your beautiful packaging! I love how you delivered them on a bike as well, heheh :)


  14. Wen’s avatar

    I love how you packaged these … and YUM!! They look divine!


  15. Sara (Belly Rumbles)’s avatar

    I really do hope you share the recipe for the quince caramels with us, they do sound ever so divine. As an organiser it was so hard watching people’s sweet swap pain on twitter. I love what you ended up making, so generous, two treats! Your packaging is just to die for, love it, and love your biking those gorgeous sweet treats to the post office, just gorgeous.


  16. Michele’s avatar

    Wow, this looks so decadent. Yum!


  17. Em’s avatar

    I am definitely going to have to try my hand at fudge after seeing all these sweet swap recipes.
    Your “unfortunately twitter alerted me that baked treats were not allowed” sentence makes me think that my brownies were illegal! Ah well. :-(
    After reading everyone’s posts I am feeling more confident and will be willing to experiment more next year.


  18. Nic@diningwithastud’s avatar

    Pure jealousy – thats what I feel for your sweet swappers :D


  19. muppy’s avatar

    haha awesome :)
    i do love the sound of your original quince caramel too


  20. Martine @ Chompchomp’s avatar

    Thank you so much hunny; I know my dietary intolerances must have been a bit of a pain for my Sweet Swap creators! You did a fabulous job…the fudge lasted all of three hours and the duche de leche came with me that night to a friends house and was similarly demolished in a flash.


  21. Amanda@ChewTown’s avatar

    Great post! It made me chuckle while at the same time feel immense sympathy for you! Sounds like an amazing kitchen trial but the end result looks wonderful (despite all the drama).



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