Line a 20 x 20cm cake tin with baking
parchment. Tip the sugar, cream, butter
and glucose syrup into a medium to
large saucepan. Heat to dissolve the
sugar and melt the butter, stirring
now and again.
Once dissolved, put a sugar
thermometer in the pan, making sure the
end is completely covered by the syrup
– if not, transfer the mixture to a smaller
pan (with enough space for the syrup to
bubble up). Increase the heat and bring
the syrup to a steady boil. Keep bubbling,
stirring occasionally to stop the sugar
from catching, until the mixture reaches
116C – this is known as the soft ball stage.
Remove the pan from the heat and
leave to sit, undisturbed, for 5 mins, until
the temperature drops to 110C. Stir in the
vanilla and a good pinch of salt.
Keep the sugar thermometer in the pan
and begin beating the mixture with a
wooden spoon, quite vigorously, until the
temperature cools to about 60C. By this
time the fudge will be really thick and will
have lost it glossy shine. Remove the
thermometer and continue beating for
a few mins more. This process is very
important when making fudge, as it
creates small sugar crystals, which give
the fudge its lovely smooth and creamy
texture (see 'fudge know-how', below).
Before it sets completely, quickly pour
the fudge into your prepared tin and
smooth over the surface. Leave to cool at
room temperature overnight – don’t put
the fudge in the fridge as it will become
sticky and won’t set properly. Cut into
bite-sized pieces and pop in a box to give
as a present. Will keep, in a sealed
container, for up to 2 months.