One of the sweets I cooked for New Year's Eve was a Mexican-style fudge called leche quemada which means burnt milk. The mixture of fresh milk and sugar is cooked for more than half an hour while constantly stirring to avoid burning the bottom. I actually burnt mine a little bit which made the candies all the more yummy. Butter, candied fruits and chopped nuts are added after cooking and the candy block is chilled for 8 hours or air-dried overnight on the kitchen counter before cutting into 1-inch squares. I combined the recipes from the December 2008 issue of Saveur magazine called Jamoncillos and from gourmetsleuth using hazelnuts in place of pecans. Making the candies is labor intensive but it was well worth all the time I spent making them. These tiny candies are so delicious and super addictive. I love the hint of cinnamon and the combination of hazelnuts and pine nuts is perfect.
3 cups sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup candied fruits, cut into ¼ inch pieces
1 cup chopped skinned and toasted hazelnuts (or pecans)
½ cup chopped toasted pine nuts
- Butter bottom and all sides of an 8-inch square baking pan, line with parchment paper, butter paper. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, stir together sugar, milk, corn syrup, and salt. Add the cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer on medium heat until the mixture thickens and a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees, stirring bottom to prevent burning. This will take about 40 to 45 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Add butter and vanilla, do not stir. Let mixture cool to 180 degrees.
- Stir mixture with wooden spoon until no longer glossy. Add fruits and nuts, stir to combine. Transfer into the prepared baking pan, smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Chill until set, about 8 hours, or leave on the counter overnight.
- Turn fudge out onto a cutting board and cut into sixty-four 1 inch squares.