Delicious Sugarless Fudge? Not this year, if ever.

This time each year I start thinking of chocolate fudge. Not just any chocolate fudge, but the kind my dad used to make. It is from a vintage candy recipe that inspired his hot fudge topping – the one I use in my fictional romance, Sugar Rush, written under my Anna J. McIntyre pen name.

After playing with the recipe over the last few days, trying to make a low-cal version, I realize Sugar Rush was a good name for a book featuring the hot fudge, since sugar plays such a critical role in the recipe.

Unlike some fudge recipes that call for corn starch, this one uses just a few basic ingredients: sugar, milk, butter, unsweetened chocolate squares, vanilla and salt.

It’s possible to swap around a few ingredients and still come up with a good fudge – such as low fat milk for whole milk, cocoa for chocolate squares and margarine for butter. But whatever you do, forget about swapping sugar for a sugar substitute.

I tried both Splenda and Stevia to make the fudge, and while they might do okay when baking – they didn’t cut it in the fudge recipe.

First, the recipe calls for letting the mixture come to a boil on the stove, and then without stirring, allowing it to reach 234º to 238º. Unfortunately, before they reach the necessary temperature, a significant portion of the mixture burns to the bottom of the pan.

Even if you are able to scrape the remaining fudge from the pan and onto a buttered plate – the aftertaste will knock you over.

I finally broke down and made a batch with sugar – just to quench my annual fudge craving. My next batch of fudge will have to wait until next Christmas, if I’m to continue avoiding sugar.

Happy holiday cooking!

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