October 16th, 2013

Celestial Goldfish

Bready or Not: Maple Fudge Bites

I will have you know, I am very dedicated to sharing only the best recipes here. I will make the noble sacrifice of making a recipe more than once, just to get it right. It's tragic, really, but I think it's all worthwhile in the end.

I made my own recipe, you see, inspired by Fudgy Oreo Bites. The inspiration for these actually struck me while I was in Canada at the very end of our Alaskan cruise. We docked for a few hours in Victoria. Just off the harbor, there are approximately a gazillion stores targeted at tourists. This means they are filled with massive walls containing nothing but maple syrup and things that use maple syrup or are shaped like maple leaves.

While surrounded by the maple mother load, we acquired some freshly-made maple fudge. Good grief, that stuff was good. We ate fudge and walked to the next store filled with an explosion of Canadian goodness, including tons of boxed maple sandwich cookies. I thought of my Oreo mock-fudge recipe and realized, huh, I bet I can make mock fudge out of those cookies, too.

Maple sandwich cookies may be tricky to find (outside of Victoria or other Canadian cities, anyway). Sometimes they are just a seasonal thing at places like Ross or Marshall's. Around here, I have found they are available year-round at Sprouts and Fresh & Easy stores (tip: they are cheaper at F&E) and the cookies at both places are absolutely identical. Just boxed differently.

Maple flavor can be found by the extracts in most grocery stores. Even here in the desert, I can get it at Wal-mart and Safeway. But then, we do get a lot of Canadian snowbirds each winter.

My first attempt at making these wasn't a failure, really. They were still quite edible. The thing was, I used all white chocolate. It was too sweet and strong and blended with the maple flavor. The maple did grow stronger after the bars sat in the fridge a few hours, but the mix just wasn't quite right.

Attempt #2 nailed it.

The white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk create a cohesive, sweet bond. The milk and semi-sweet chips stand out and complement the maple without overpowering it. Feel free to use other nuts here, too--or omit them entirely.

This stuff tastes like maple fudge. It looks like maple fudge. However, it requires no candy thermometer and no fuss. Grind up your cookies, spend a few minutes at the stovetop, then throw everything together. Easy-peasey, and so, so good.

I think you'll agree, eh?

Maple Fudge Bites
based on Fudgy Oreo Bites

2 1/2 cups finely crushed maple creme cookies (11.4 oz package)
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
10 oz white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips for garnish (mini chips are best)

1) Line 9x9 baking dish with foil, making sure to overlap the sides to create handles for easy removal later. Coat foil with cooking spray.

2)Crush sandwich cookies in gallon bag or a food processor. No chunks allowed.

3) In a medium saucepan, combine chopped white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Over low heat melt together stirring frequently.

4) In a large bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and melted white chocolate mixture until evenly incorporated. Add maple flavor and stir again; the extract is dark, so it will be easy to see when it's mixed. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly before stirring in the chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. If it looks like the chocolate is melting, don't stir too much! It's okay if it's swirled through in a layer.

5) Immediately press the mix into prepared pan.

6) Sprinkle more chips on top and gently press into cookie mixture.

7) Chill for approximately 30 minutes until firm and cut into squares. Try not to eat them all.