Warning! Dangerously Spicy Chocolate-Chili Fudge
I'm an introvert. My coworkers probably wouldn't describe me as a particularly demonstrative individual (except when I'm outrageously caffeinated). Therefore, I bake. It's a display of affection with a side bonus; I have a built-in audience on which to offload my extra sweets.
Really... nobody needs more than one slice of banana bread, one muffin, one brownie, one sliver of cake or one piece of fudge. But it's also impossible to make a single square of fudge without making a dozen more in the process.
Thus, it was a wicked combination of altruism and personal craving that drove me to bring in a pan of fudge to the office on a particularly cold morning last week.
It was my first fudge — which is actually surprising, since the Upper Midwest (where I was reared) is covered in a dark, thick layer of the stuff. I was terribly pleased when it went over well. An officemate who claimed to hate fudge ate two pieces. Said one victim, "It rocks. It reminds me of Jacque T.'s ancho chocolate. Give up the day job and sell this."
I shared the recipe, of course, as I will with you. But be warned: This fudge is not supremely sweet or crystalline, like some I've tried. It's almost... chewy. It's dark, bittersweet, brownie-esque and not for those of tender palate.
Dangerously Spicy Chocolate-Chili Fudge (Delights about 15 coworkers)
1 lb high-quality dark chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt Excellence 70%)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
Butter the bottom of an 8-inch to 9-inch square baking pan, and line with a square of parchment or wax paper.
Put ingredients into a metal bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, and stir the mixture occasionally to melt. It's going to be very thick. Spread mixture into the pan and chill until firm (or overnight).
Run a warm knife around edges of pan to loosen the fudge block and flip it over onto a cutting board. Remove the paper, and cut the fudge into 1-inch squares.