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Dangerously Spicy Chocolate-Chili Fudge 2.0

Rich, dark and spicy. Is there a homemade treat for Valentine's Day that's more thematically appropriate than my Dangerously Spicy Chocolate-Chili Fudge?

I'm doubting it... especially now that I've gone through and improved the recipe.

I whipped up the first version of this fudge two years ago, but I thought the texture was slightly less than perfect. It was just a bit too chewy.

In this new & improved version, I've added more butter (which makes it creamier) and I've replaced the nutmeg with vanilla, which improves the overall flavor in a magical way.

chocolate fudge heart

It's still super-fast and very easy to make, and you can use dark chocolate (I do) or milk chocolate, as you prefer.
Dangerously Spicy Chocolate-Chili Fudge 2.0 (Makes about 16 pieces)

One (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or more, if you're bold)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 lb milk or dark chocolate (use chips, pastilles or pieces you've cut)

1. Butter the bottom of an 8-inch to 9-inch square baking pan, and line with a piece of parchment or wax paper.

2. In a metal or glass bowl, blend together the salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and vanilla with the sweetened condensed milk.

3. Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (double boiler), add the butter and chocolate, stirring the mixture occasionally as it melts.

4. When everything is blended and smooth, spread the mixture into the prepared pan and chill in the refrigerator 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.

5. Run a warm knife around edges of pan to loosen the fudge block and flip it over onto a cutting board. Remove the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 1- to 2-inch squares. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to a month.

Since I last posted on this topic, I've also discovered that some high-quality fudge tips exist at Allrecipes.com. Since I try to avoid using corn syrup, I went with the sweetened condensed milk, and yes, it's pretty fool-poof.

Cheers!
Miss Ginsu

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2.13.2009

Beans on Toast Strike Back

After a recent post profiling the wonders of Beans on Toast, a reader asked about a recipe for do-it-yourself beans.

I'm not sure why I thought the task might be tricky. The beans in question are really just navy beans in a lightly sweetened tomato sauce. So surely it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that homemade beans for toast are cheap, easy... and yes, even tastier than beans from a can.

Aside from thrift and first-hand knowledge of the ingredients, there's another significant bonus. When you make the beans yourself, you get to tweak the flavor to your liking.

In the afore-mentioned bean showdown, J and I preferred the British beans because they were less sweet and had more tangy, tomato-y flavor. But we also liked the hint of molasses in the American beans.

I started out with Muir Glen tomato sauce, because I like the organic tomatoes and the lined cans — hooray for no horrid can flavor! Muir Glen tomato sauce already has a little garlic powder, salt and vinegar in it, so it arrives slightly flavored, but all you should really notice is a vivid tomato taste.

For this experiment I used a can of small white beans that I rinsed well under running water, but in the future, I'll try to remember to just soak and cook dried navy beans in advance. If you're not really fond of the deep, bass-note richness that molasses provides, certainly feel free to substitute sugar instead.

Home-cooked beans vs. canned beans
Home-cooked beans at the foreground, Heinz beans (imported from the UK) at the rear.

You'll notice right off the color of your home-cooked beans is more bright and saturated than the beans from a can. Why? Well, you're not using any filler, like modified food starches, which will thin down the tomato sauce enough to make it more orange-red and slightly pasty by comparison.

Beans on Toast (from Scratch)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 15oz can small white beans or navy beans (or use 2 cups cooked beans)
1 1/2 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
Sliced bread (preferably whole-grain), for serving

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with a little more sugar, molasses or salt. Serve hot over toasted bread.


You can probably find a pound of dry navy beans for a $1 to $1.25, depending on where you live, and that bag will offer many, many beany brekkies. A small can of tomato sauce will run you .65 to $1.

Now, beans on toast isn't an expensive option to begin with, but you can immediately see how economical this protein-packed brekkie can be.

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1.14.2008