A while back I attended the NRA Annual Meeting and met a group of bloggers. While having breakfast with OldNFO the first morning of the show two folks showed up – Midwest Chick and Mr. B. of Middle of the right. Conversations ensued over the next few days and one of the discoveries I made about Midwest Chick is that she is a crafter of fine fudge. Now . . . I gotta say . . . fudge is one of my personal weaknesses. I grew up in Michigan and there is no finer fudge to be had than that manufactured on Mackinaw Island. So . . . I have a pretty high individual expectation of what a fudge should taste and “feel” like as I eat it. I asked Midwest Chick to send me the recipe for her “Hell Fudge” which comes in various “heat” levels – all the way up to Ghost Pepper!
And, that’s kinda where I left it . . .
When much to my surprise a few weeks later this arrived . . .
The large 9x9 “sample” on the right had a heat index of “2” in her estimation – enough to insure my face and forehead burst into a sweat as each portion was consumed. The 4-squares on the left are made with Ghost Peppers and rates a flat out 10. It was a wonderful surprise and fully deserving of my full review!
An evening or two ago this was all that was left of the large sample . . .
It has been a wonderful journey . . . to the review!
Firmness I don’t care for “mushy” fudge. Nor do I like fudge so hard that it crumbles when you eat it. I like it “firm”, moist on the tongue – not wet, pliable so I can roll bites around in my mouth.
Texture I also don’t like granular fudge where the texture feels like little chunks of chocolate flavored sugar crystals. I want it to melt in my mouth, to feel smooth and to coat my tongue evenly. (not too picky am I . . .).
Smell It must have the smell of a rich chocolate. That is as important to me as is the firmness and texture.
Taste Finally, taste. Getting the taste of fudge just right is a true art form. In fact Midwest Chick said she has been tweaking this particular recipe for 13 years. Her passion and love shows.
Opening the package flooded the immediate area with the deep, rich smell of a fine chocolate. I guess I expected to smell peppers – what ever that means – yet there was only a heavenly chocolate smell.
Poking the fudge showed that there was real body to it, but it was “firm” – not brick like. A knife cut smoothly through it – something that remained throughout the nearly 2 months I managed to stretch out the “sampling” process. It never dried out, never crystalized, never got hard . . . simply remained “firm”.
Not knowing what her interpretation of a hotness level of 2 was as compared to mine – and I fully admit to being a bit of a candy-ass when it comes to truly spicy-hot food – I cut about a dime sized chunk and bit off about half of it.
My mouth was flooded with a rich chocolate taste. It melted easily on my tongue and the resulting liquid quickly coated the inside of my mouth . . .
It was about this time that I noted that the chocolate had turned to lava and it was flowing down my throat . . . My body reacted appropriately with my face and forehead bursting forth in sweat in an odd attempt to cool my mouth and throat! And still, as I was detaching quickly from my body, my mind was noting how wonderful the chocolate taste was, how smooth the texture was, how deep the chocolate flavor was, how evenly it melted . . . and “we” – both body and mind – decided this was indeed a very fine piece of chocolate.
So, as my body was asking “what the HELL do you think you’re doing!?!?!?!” my mind demanded that I take the remaining half of bite and pop it into my mouth! Please re-read the above 2 paragraphs . . .
As you can clearly see by the two images, the “little bit of heat” did nothing to deter my working through the entire block of chocolate. And while I had able assistance from my wife, she has much more willpower to restrict her ingestion of sweets that do I. I managed to eat the lion’s share of the large package.
As for the 4- squares of Hell Fudge with an estimated heat level of 10 . . . my wife jumped into that quickly. Her level of acceptance of truly spicy food is much greater than mine. She NEVER sweats, never mentions the “heat” . . . until this particular time. First there was the smile of enjoyment of a truly good piece of fudge. Next came a rather surprised expression with eyes going wide, a smile spreading across her face and a few beads of sweat appearing here and there. As the moment passed the words “Dang that’s HOT!!” were heard . . . followed by a long MMMMmmmmmmm . . . and finally – after a few moments – “Well, maybe just one more bite!”
She has continued to nibble on remaining fudge but was kind enough to leave me two pieces to sample. Honestly, watching her reaction made me a bit nervous but finally last night with the first batch gone and a desire for a “bit of fudge” growing I went and cut one of the remaining chunks into four pieces and settled in my recliner to taste test. She was sitting on the couch – looked at me a smiled and said “Pretty big chunk there kid!” She knows how I react to hot stuff and I am confident she was looking forward to the entertainment.
I took a bite and noticed that this fudge had more the taste of a rich dark chocolate. It was a bit firmer but melted easily in my mouth. I expected the “lava” to flow momentarily but was instead greeted by intense points of heat all across my tongue – yep – quite intense . . . very intense . . . just a few steps below white hot intense . . . all immersed in this wonderfully chocolate flavor. Truly a unique taste. My next fear was lava flowing down my throat and it bursting into flame. Strangely, the “heat” remained strictly on my tongue – nothing on the inside of my mouth or my throat.
I am pleased to say I still have 7 more little chunks to finish off . . .
Two thumbs WAY up Ma’am . . . truly a tasty and unique fudge. Thank you so much for your kindness in sending a sample this way . . .
You are going to the NRA Annual Meeting next year . . . . right??? . . .
Planning on being there, but would be happy to send the recipe (if I can find the latest version). I tried it with habanero and the smoky underflavor just wasn't right with the chocolate I use. Ghost pepper adds heat without flavor and it burns clean. I'm so glad that you both enjoyed! :-)ReplyDelete
LOL, yep she IS one helluva good cook!!!ReplyDelete
Ms. "Chick" . . . Me to, I think. "burns clean" . . . Yep - you got that right!! :)ReplyDelete
Jim - Yes sir - that she is!! :)