I remember when the boys were younger, birthdays were something that were looked forward to for months. We would count down the days till D Day arrived. The excitement was almost palpable and on the morning of the birthday???!!! It was crazy. The opening of the birthday presents, the mandatory payasam, the oh so excited to wear the "colour" dress to school instead of the much hated uniform....
I think the idea that a birthday is the day you are born took on a lot less meaning than the fact that it was a day when there is party!!! at home, all friends coming over, games, loads of presents and lots of yummy food. And not to forget the all important goody bag... Deciding what goes into it, helping pick things out to stuff it with...
I usually had all birthdays at home and cooked everything at home. I think the main birthday cake was the only thing sourced out. This was more because my skills were not that strong in the decorating department.
One thing that remained constant in all the birthday parties menus were the jam tarts. I made a mean jam tart and the kids loved it. One little friend in particular loved them. She would come and eat just that. Nothing else.
Fudge was something I would have loved to make but did not know how to. So this little girl's mom taught me this wonderful fudge recipe. She would make it all the time and it was one of the most popular foods at her home. It is now a hot favorite in our house and everytime my little chocoholic son needs his chocolate fix, out comes this recipe and within minutes I have a happy contented face, beaming up at me cos he has OD'ed on it. I have also chronicled his chocolate addiction here.
This is one of the easiest recipes and calls for simple ingredients. It has a everything that you can easily find in the pantry and particularly in the Indian pantry ( this is important as chocolate chips and suchlike are hard to source in India).
There are a few points to watch out for which I will mention as we go along and you are well on your way to making perfect fudge everytime. The key is to know when to add the butter. The sugar syrup has to reach the candy stage. This step is important as otherwise the fudge can turn grainy rather than smooth and creamy.
Now on to the recipe
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk powder ( not skimmed, it should be full fat)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter ( approximately 50 grams)
one small cup of ice cold water
Grease an 8" X 8" dish or better still line with parchemnt paper or aluminium foil. (Clean up is a lot easier this way.)
Add the water to the sugar and place on a high flame. Let it come to a boil. Keep boiling till it reaches the candy stage. Keep a cup of cold water nearby. The surest test to see if it is ready for the next step is to drop bit of the sugar syrup into cold water. If it comes together as a little ball then it is ready.
Then, reduce the flame to medium, add the butter into it and let it froth up. Immediately add the milk powder and the cocoa and mix really well.
Pour into the dish and let it set. Cut into squares and serve.