Peanut Butter Fudge
Inspired by a beautiful post from Make, Do and Spend, I felt compelled to write a letter to someone. The ease and instantaneousness of email and text messaging make the letter seem slow and unreliable, but there is nothing like returning home to an unexpected envelope scrawled with hand writing you immediately recognise. Letters are reassuringly thoughtful and, unlike digital communication, can be squirreled away, to be found years later.
I wanted to include something homemade parceled up with my letter. Being a huge fan of the idea of foodie penpals, I opted for making some peanut butter, based on a fantastic recipe by Frugal Feeding, and turning it into Sophie Dahl’s incredible peanut butter fudge. The fudge is really simple to make but is worryingly moorish. The intense sweetness of the fudge, studded with roasted peanuts, and the saltiness of the homemade peanut butter make it pretty mind-blowing.
For the peanut butter
250g or eight and three quarter oz uncooked peanuts
three quarters of a teaspoon salt
For the fudge
125g or four and a half oz unsalted butter
500g or one pound, one and a half oz soft brown sugar
300g or ten and a half oz icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan oven)/ 180°C/ Gas Mark 4/ 350 F and line a 20cm square baking tray with cling film. Place the peanuts into another roasting tin, sprinkle with salt and roast for five to ten minutes. You want the nuts to be crunchy but not burnt so keep a close eye on them.
Allow the nuts to cool slightly, set aside around 50g, then chuck the rest into a food processor and whizzing for four to five minutes, until a smooth paste forms. You’re aiming to process the nuts so much that they give up their natural oil, which then emulsifies the slightly concerning sandy nut debris, forming the most amazing peanut butter. My food processor has seen better days so it really struggled with this and I was forced to add a dribble of sunflower oil after peanut butter hadn’t appeared after ten minutes of blitzing. Worryingly, the food processor is probably older than I am. As far as I know, my parents got it from a petrol station in the eighties, when you could exchange petrol tokens for kitchen gadgets and wine glasses.
Place the remaining 50g of unprocessed peanuts into a food bag and bash with a rolling pin to produce uneven rubble. Fold this into your peanut butter to give it some texture.
For the fudge, place the butter in a saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and milk and boil for two to three minutes, without stirring. Meanwhile, place the icing sugar into a large heatproof bowl. Once the sugar, butter and milk mixture has boiled for three minutes, take it off the heat and stir your peanut butter. Pour this over the icing sugar. Beat using a wooden spoon until smooth and then pour into the cling film lined baking tray. Allow to cool slightly and then chill completely in the fridge.
When cool, remove from the tin, peel back the cling film and cut the peanut butter fudge into squares with a knife. Store in an airtight container or wrap in greaseproof paper, before parceling up to send in the post.