Jason Wood is a pastry chef who, when he suffers from insomnia, likes to make Belgian Chocolate Truffles. I thought it might be fun to share the recipe with you, but it turns out those things are impossible to make for newbies like me. (Believe me, I tried. I thought I’d whip together a batch, take some pictures and share them with you today. Let’s just say it didn’t go as planned. But I did manage to get the fire under control.)
So, instead here is the recipe for Jason’s Fudge. It’s one that I have made hundreds of times, and it is always a hit. What I like about it is that you can whip up a batch and freeze it. It doesn’t go rock hard and this way it lasts for ever. (Read: I won’t eat it all in one go.)
The Fudge that brings all the boys to the yard
What you will need:
- Dark chocolate – 12 oz/350 gr. Go as dark as possible, I use Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips.
- Condensed milk – 14 oz/400 gr.
- Unsalted butter – 1 oz/30 gr.
- Pinch of salt
- Unsalted pistachios – 5 oz/150 gr. (You can replace this with any kind of nut you want, or even mini-marshmallows if you want to avoid nuts altogether.)
Now the incredibly complicated process of making the Fudge:
- Throw everything apart from the nuts/marshmallows into a heavy-based pan. Melt slowly until everything is combined.
- Tenderly gather your nuts in the palm of your ha— uh, I mean, put the nuts in a ziplock baggie and whack the hell out of them until you have a variety of pieces. (Not until it’s all turned to sawdust. Control your nut-whacking urges, please.)
- Add the nuts (or the marshmallows) to the melted mixture and stir carefully.
- Pour the mix into a tray. This can be any kind of tray depending on how you want the Fudge to look. I tend to buy small aluminum disposable trays, because I can easily remove the Fudge by stretching the sides.
- Let the Fudge cool, then refrigerate until it’s set. I usually leave it overnight.
- Cut into desired pieces and devour, refrigerate, or freeze!
The House on Hancock Hill
Pastry chef and bakery owner Jason Wood bakes a mean chocolate soufflé, yet his love life keeps falling flat. He’d blame his past if he wasn’t trying so hard to avoid it.
When his family’s farmhouse burns to the ground, he’s summoned to identify a body found in the ashes. Jason returns to Hancock, Michigan, and reunites with a childhood friend, small town vet Henry McCavanaugh. After fifteen years apart, their rekindled friendship soon develops into much more. But Jason’s baggage threatens their blossoming romance, and he leaves town unannounced to escape his feelings—and Henry’s feelings for him. He has learned the hard way if something seems too good to be true, it’s best to run for the hills. Jason stress-bakes more confections than he knows what to do with before wondering if he’s running in the wrong direction.
Time for the Giveaway!
When I return from my trip to Italy on Sunday March 8th, the three winners will be announced on my Facebook Page and Livejournal!
If you would like to get in touch with me in the meantime, you can find me on:
Now go forth and indulge in something yummy.
Since the bakery had closed two hours ago, I considered not going inside the shop to check who it was, but the knock came again. I couldn’t remember any other time anyone had tried to get in at this hour, so I stuck my head through the kitchen door. A man was pressing a hand to the window and peering in. I didn’t need to turn on the light to see who it was. That build—those strong shoulders and narrow waist, sharp cheekbones and a well-defined jaw. An exquisitely tailored three-piece suit.
It was Tom.
If he hadn’t spotted me then, I’d have hidden in the kitchen and waited for him to leave. Swallowing hard, I wiped my hands on a clean towel, snatched off my chef’s hat, and quickly looked down. There was chocolate on my apron, a smear of marzipan on my sleeve. I had butter under my nails.
Well, he’d arrived unannounced, he’d have to take it or leave it. I unlocked the door and stepped back, pulling it open. On the threshold, Tom smiled at me in a way that used to make my heart swell.
“My God, Jason.” Tom said nothing else, and I couldn’t help it: it thrilled me to see him look at me like that.
“Tom.” I faltered. What could I say? Good to see you? I wasn’t sure it was. He grinned at me, and it was so familiar, it ached somewhere inside me even after all these years.
“I sent you an email a couple of days ago to say I was in town, but I gather from the look on your face you didn’t get it.”
“It’s been really busy.” With an apologetic little wave, I indicated the yellow and green Easter decorations, the chocolate ducklings arranged in a row according to size, the huge halved chocolate eggs filled with smaller sugar eggs.
“Well that’s great,” he said, smiling a warm, white-toothed smile. “I’m pleased. Is this a really bad time? I’d love to take a look around your bakery.”
“I—yeah, sure.” I stepped aside and let him in, locking the door again so no one else could wander in. At the back of the shop, I flicked the lights on and then watched Tom look around.
To see him here was surreal. He was part of a life that had been over for so long, I didn’t know if I was comfortable with him in my bakery.
Who was I kidding? Of course I wasn’t comfortable. Tom looked like he’d walked off the front cover of Forbes magazine, and I probably had flour in my hair. To be fair, he peered around with real interest. When he spotted the marzipan animals in every color imaginable, I thought he was going to press his face to the display window like a kid. Tom didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I remember marzipan being his Achilles’ heel.
“Those look amazing,” he said on cue, and I laughed. “Did you make all this yourself?”
“I do the confections and Alice does the bread.” Tom beamed at me, and I rolled my eyes. “Yes, you can try one.” I stepped behind the counter and plucked a little pink piglet off the tray, handing it over with a smirk.
“Thanks, Jason. I’ll pay you.”
“No need. Go on, try it.”
Tom bit off the nose. For some reason I knew he’d do that. “Mmmm,” he went, closing his eyes and making a dramatic blissful face. “Oh my God.” He ate the rest of the piglet and licked his fingers. “That article wasn’t lying.”
I frowned at him and took off my stained apron, draping it over the cash register. “What article?”
With a dismissive wave of his hand, Tom explored the rest of the display. “Just something I read awhile back. I can’t remember where, but it’s how I found out you owned your own bakery. Oh.” He straightened. “It was about opening a second one in Detroit and how it was quickly becoming a household name or something.” I hadn’t read the article, but I couldn’t say it didn’t please me to hear it. “Who was it that opened the other one? Denny Sherwood or something?”
“Sheridan. Denny Sheridan. Sherwood is the name of the bakery.”
“Right, of course.” He looked at me out of the corner of his eye. “Got to be tough to have a long distance thing going.”
Laughing at the badly hidden snooping, I said, “He’s married with two kids.”
Tom headed back my way and grinned at me with an open affection I wasn’t used to from him. “It’s so good to see you. I didn’t give you a hug. Can I hug you, or are you still allergic to affection?”
A sudden lump rammed its way into my throat when I thought about how I’d kissed Henry in front of his clinic, visible to all and sundry. I shoved the image away. “I guess not.” It was still awkward to hug him. Maybe because it’d been so long since I’d seen Tom, and he’d just appeared out of nowhere. Or maybe I was forever going to be unable to adjust to holding someone shorter.
“You look good,” Tom said, and I let him go.
After a silence that had me look away first, Tom said, “Is there anywhere we can get dinner at this hour, or does everything close at eight?” He laughed, but for some reason his attitude grated on me. Traverse City wasn’t that small.
“I’m actually in the middle of making a chocolate Easter bunny. I can’t leave it overnight.”
“Can I watch?”
That was the last thing I wanted, but I didn’t know how to say it without being rude, and I doubted very much the request would’ve bothered me if it had come from Henry. “Okay. Yeah, sure.”
The Easter bunny broke in two when I took it out of the mold. Tom was perched on the clean worktable behind me, and he laughed. It took me a good minute before I could turn around without showing moisture in my eyes. Tom slid off the counter and put his hands on my arms, rubbing them up and down, so I probably hadn’t hidden my dismay very well.
“Come on,” he said. “Let me take you to dinner.”
“I’ll go grab my coat.” I went into the small office. It had a little mirror behind the door, and I quickly checked my hair. It did have flour in it. Ah well, at least the scar on my chin was slowly beginning to fade.
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