Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

 

It’s funny, there’s something about the Christmas and Valentine seasons that get my imagination swirling with fudge ideas. I go all year with barely a thought about that delectably sweet confection and then, when these holidays roll around, I find I can’t stop thinking about it.

Back in December, I had fun experimenting with all sorts of methods to achieve a pretty red and white swirled peppermint fudge. After a quite a few attempts, I came up with an easy marbling process. The top of the fudge looked beautiful when I finished and I could hardly wait till it was cool enough to cut. I hoped the pretty red swirls would be carried all through the white chocolate fudge. The minute I pulled out the first piece, I knew I’d be re-visiting this fun technique – check out why!

I thought it would also be a really pretty fudge for Valentine’s Day, but I wanted a different flavor. I settled on strawberry, but was a bit perplexed as far as how to pull it off. I loved the thought of strawberry fudge, but knew fresh strawberries would never work in fudge as they’re way too wet and would make my sweet treat gooey and highly perishable.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

My next thought was to use a strawberry extract. I had to go on a hunt for this extract, since many stores don’t carry a large variety of extracts. When I finally did find it at one of my local grocery stores, I noticed it was labeled “Imitation Strawberry Extract”. Ewww, not what I was hoping for. I didn’t want fudge with a fake strawberry taste.

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I love it that these days, we don’t have to be content with what is available in local markets and stores. I checked online and found exactly what I was looking for; Pure Strawberry Extract, actually made from real strawberries. I quickly pushed the “order” button and within seconds received an email that my pure strawberry extract would be on my doorstep in two days.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

And it was. It arrived a few days ago and I set to work. I used the Candy Cane Swirled Fantasy Fudge recipe as a template and had some fun with it, adding a favorite condiment; Vanilla Bean Paste*** to the base and a swirl of the Pure Strawberry Extract combined with a bit of red food color.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

A Café reader emailed me a while back and shared that Wilton has a No-Taste Red Food Coloring Gel. I ordered it and really like that there’s no flavor to it, like there is with other food colorings. It’s also quite concentrated, so you don’t need much. I’ve also discovered that there is natural food coloring made from vegetable colourants with no artificial dyes. I love all these options.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

In addition to making the fudge into a traditional 8×8-inch pan, I made one Valentine’s Day inspired batch in my heart-shaped silicone molds.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

These fun silicone molds are very inexpensive and come in all different shapes and are super simple to use. Fudge and baked goods just pop right out after they’re cooled.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

I’ll package the little fudge hearts in small bags or boxes and use them as gifts for family and friends. I also love that I can find an assortment of small gift bags and boxes online for pretty packaging. I don’t know about you, but there’s something really special to me about gifts that are dressed up in Sunday clothes!

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

Although this fudge is perfect for Valentine’s Day, it would also be really fun to celebrate lots of other special occasions. Strawberry seems to be a universally-loved flavor with young and old alike.  I guess that’s why everyone who sampled this fun fudge gave it a huge thumbs up.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

I think I’m going to change my ways and not relegate fudge to only a few months of the year. Try it, I think you’ll get hooked too – it’s so easy, so delicious and takes less than 30 minutes to make a batch (plus cooling time). That almost makes it dangerous, doesn’t it?

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Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge (made in 8×8-inch pan)

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

5 from 4 reviews

This Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge is super creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. It makes a wonderful gift!

  • Author:
  • Yield: 64 1-inch squares
  • Category: Sweet Treat

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons pure strawberry extract
  • ½ rounded teaspoon red gel food color, I like the No-Taste red food coloring from Wilton
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, I use salted
  • ⅔ cup half and half*
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips**
  • 1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme***
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste****, The vanilla bean paste adds amazing flavor, but you could also use regular vanilla for this.

Instructions

  1. Combine red food color and strawberry extract in a small bowl. Stir well till gel is dissolved, then set aside. If you have trouble dissolving the gel, microwave the mixture for 10 seconds on high power, then stir again.
  2. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, ends of foil extending over sides. Spray pan with cooking spray and rub with a paper towel. Set aside. Also spray a small thin-bladed knife with cooking spray (a butter knife works well for this). Set aside.
  3. Combine sugar, butter and half and half in a sauce pan (at least 3 quart-size) over medium heat until mixture comes to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly (don’t mistake bubbling at the edges for a full boil). Cook for exactly 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  4. Add white chocolate chips, cover pot and allow to sit for 1 minute, then stir until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla bean paste. Stir again until smooth and well mixed.
  5. Pour approximately half of mixture into prepared pan. Spread to cover bottom. Using a small spoon, sprinkle 1/2 of strawberry extract mixture in random drops over the surface of the fudge. Quickly pour the other half of the fudge mixture over the red food coloring. Spread evenly. Drizzle the other teaspoon in random drops over the top.
  6. Using the side of the prepared knife, run it back and forth through fudge creating a swirled pattern. Once you get a pretty swirly pattern, stop. If you swirl too much the whole mixture will turn pink. Cool completely (if you’re in a hurry, like I usually am, refrigerate fudge till cool). Use the foil handles to lift fudge from pan before cutting into squares.

Notes

*If you live outside the U.S., you may not be familiar with half and half. It’s a convenience product frequently used in coffee here in the States. It’s simply half milk and half cream.
** Marshmallow creme is a light, creamy marshmallow mixture that’s sold in jars. If you can’t find it, you can make your own. Try this version from AllRecipes.
*** Use a good quality white chocolate chip. How do you know if it’s good? Check the label – one of the first ingredients after sugar, should be cocoa butter. Many of the so called “premium” chips don’t have any cocoa butter. I really like the chips from Trader Jo’s which you can purchase at their stores or online.
****I love vanilla beans but they are frightfully expensive and tend to dry out if you don’t keep them carefully stored. Vanilla bean paste is essential vanilla beans that have been scraped out of the pods. It’s not cheap (about $10-12 for a small jar) but it has the equivalent of A LOT of vanilla beans so it’s really quite economical. I always keep it on hand. It’s not always easy to find. Whole Foods carries it as well as Williams Sonoma. You can also get it online.

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Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge (made in silicone mini molds)

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!

5 from 4 reviews

This Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge is super creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. It makes a wonderful gift!

  • Author:
  • Yield: 48 pieces
  • Category: Sweet Treat

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons pure strawberry extract
  • ½ rounded teaspoon red gel food color, I like the No-Taste red food coloring from Wilton
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, I use salted
  • ⅔ cup half and half*
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips**
  • 1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme***
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste****, The vanilla bean paste adds amazing flavor, but you could also use regular vanilla for this

Instructions

  1. Combine red food color and strawberry extract in a small bowl. Stir well till gel is dissolved, then set aside. If you have trouble dissolving the gel, microwave the mixture for 10 seconds on high power, then stir again.
  2. You will need 2 silicone mini molds, each having 24 openings. Place each on a sheet pan. This will keep them stable once they’re filled with fudge. Set aside.
  3. Butter or spray a small thin-bladed knife with cooking spray (a butter knife works well for this). Set aside.
  4. Combine sugar, butter and half and half in a sauce pan (at least 3 quart-size) over medium heat until mixture comes to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly (don’t mistake bubbling at the edges for a full boil). Cook for exactly 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  5. Add white chocolate chips, cover pot and allow to sit for 1 minute, then stir until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla bean paste. Stir again until smooth and well mixed.
  6. Using a small spoon, sprinkle the strawberry extract mixture in random drops over the surface of the fudge. Using the side of the prepared knife, run it back and forth through fudge a few times, creating a swirled pattern. Don’t swirl too much. If you do, the whole mixture will turn solid pink.
  7. With a small scoop, pour the fudge into the cavities of the silicon pan, filling to the top. Avoid stirring the fudge, just scoop it up. You’ll find that the last scoops will be less patterned, still pretty, but the red color will have combined more with the white.
  8. Cool completely (if you’re in a hurry, like I usually am, refrigerate fudge till cool). Pop the fudge out from underneath. I like to push gently up on each edge before I remove them to insure they stay intact.

Notes

*If you live outside the U.S., you may not be familiar with half and half. It’s a convenience product frequently used in coffee here in the States. It’s simply half milk and half cream.
** Marshmallow creme is a light, creamy marshmallow mixture that’s sold in jars. If you can’t find it, you can make your own. Try this version from AllRecipes.
*** Use a good quality white chocolate chip. How do you know if it’s good? Check the label – one of the first ingredients after sugar, should be cocoa butter. Many of the so called “premium” chips don’t have any cocoa butter. I really like the chips from Trader Jo’s which you can purchase at their stores or online.
****I love vanilla beans but they are frightfully expensive and tend to dry out if you don’t keep them carefully stored. Vanilla bean paste is essential vanilla beans that have been scraped out of the pods. It’s not cheap (about $10-12 for a small jar) but it has the equivalent of A LOT of vanilla beans so it’s really quite economical. I always keep it on hand. It’s not always easy to find. Whole Foods carries it as well as Williams Sonoma. You can also get it online.

Strawberry Swirled Fantasy Fudge - totally mind blowing fudge! It's creamy with flecks of vanilla bean and swirled with strawberries. Makes a lovely gift if you can get it out of the house! It disappears right before my eyes when I make it!



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