Tuesday, December 27, 2011

White Chocolate & Thai Tea Fudge

The first attempt: the tea is dry, not bloomed in water or vodka.
This is not my recipe. The original recipe is surpassingly simple and elegant, and the results are beautiful. Plus, I love a thai iced tea, so much so that I don't even care how much carcinogenic food dye they use to make that radioactive orange color.

The original recipe specified white chocolate. I am just not a fan. If it's chocolate, I want it to be dark and bitter and just a little sweet. Not bland and white and cloying. Ok, two things: first, I love thai iced tea. And second? Well, just look at the darn blog. If this woman says "Cook this, it's delicious," I am simply not going to argue. I am going to cook what she says to cook the way she says to cook it. So I bought white chocolate.

As you see, dry tea resulted in a less than fluorescent result.
And it was not an amazing and unqualified success. Which completely took me by surprise, because how on earth can it possibly have gone wrong with only three ingredients? But there was no delightfully radioactive orange. The flavor of the tea was present, but wispy, not all the way there.

Hmmm....I went back to the recipe, and noticed that several other commenters made the same discovery. Sparing you the details: mystery solved. White chocolate and white baking chips are different enough to give you different results. Either one will yield up a delicious treat, but you have to proceed differently if you use white chocolate. You have to bloom the tea in warm water before stirring it in. (The original recipe has been modified to clarify that white baking chips were used.) Here is what I did:

This step is the same regardless: use a double boiler for melting.
What You Need
  • 18 oz white chocolate (Baker's brand, or any brand made using cocoa butter)
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 TBS thai tea
  • 1½ TBS very warm water, or room-temperature vodka
  • 1 tsp baking soda

What You Do
  1. Prepare an 8x8 baking pan with a foil sling. Lightly spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In the top of a double boiler (or in a stainless steel bowl placed over a pan of simmering water), combine 9 oz of the white chocolate and 7 oz of the condensed milk (half of each). Stir as the chocolate melts into the milk.
  3. Mix in ½ tsp baking soda, and spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Place the pan in the fridge for 15 minutes, or the freezer for 5-10 minutes, until well firm.
  4. If you are using white chocolate: Place the dry tea in a small dish, and add just enough warm water to cover the leaves. Stir them and let the color develop.
  5. Batch 01: Beautiful texture, but the tea flavor is not strong enough.
  6. While the milk fudge firms, in a clean bowl combine the remaining white chocolate and condensed milk, and place over the simmering water. Stir and melt until smooth. Mix the tea into the chocolate and condensed milk, stirring until the color is uniform.
  7. If you are using white baking chips: When the milk mixture is smooth, stir in the dry tea leaves. Stir well for a minute or so, to allow the tea to develop.
  8. Mix in the remaining ½ tsp baking soda, then pour the tea layer over the chilled milk layer. Shake the pan a bit to smooth the surface, then refrigerate until very firm (or you can freeze the fudge for about 30 minutes).
  9. Make sure the fudge is very cold when you try to cut it, and use a sharp knife. Cut the 8x8 pan into 4 strips. Cut each strip in half across the width. Take each piece and halve it again lengthwise, then crosswise into thirds. This results in 48 pieces about 1x1¼ inches.
What You Eat
Cut the pan into 48 pieces. Carefully. Do not trim the rounded edges off and pop them in your mouth. Do not cut the fudge at room temperature then lick the knife. You really shouldn't be licking knives anyway. You know that's dangerous, right? So is eating too many of these utterly empty, but deliciously tempting calories.
Calories 93 Protein 1.5g Vitamin B6 0.58%
Fat 4.3g Vitamin A 0.66% Folate 0.49%
Saturated Fat 2.7g Vitamin C 0.57% Vitamin B12 1.8%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.15g Calcium 5.3% Pantothenic Acid 1.5%
Monounsaturated Fat 1.2g Iron 0.26% Phosphorus 4.7%
Cholesterol 6.0mg Vitamin D 0.22% Magnesium 1.0%
Sodium 24mg Vitamin E 0.60% Zinc 1.2%
Potassium 72mg Thiamin 1.1% Copper 0.40%
Carbohydrate 12g Riboflavin 4.5% Selenium 3.0%
Fiber 0g Niacin 0.51% Manganese 0.08%
Sugars 12g

What You Learn
  • All white chocolate is not chocolate. If it's actually labeled as "white chocolate," it will be made from cocoa butter. If it says something like "white baking bar" or "white baking chips," it's made with palm kernel oil. It's not white chocolate. No matter how many times they put the word "premium" on the label, or what font they use, if it hasn't got cocoa butter, it can't be called chocolate.
  • Batch 02: Tea soaked in vodka, the color explodes and so does the flavor.
  • If you use lower-moisture white chocolate, you must bloom the dry tea before stirring it in. Using warm water will work, but using vodka is well nigh on brilliant. I have gotten in the habit of using vodka to soak saffron threads, and it works fantastically well for color and flavor extraction. And you do realize that all those extracts in the pantry are alcohol based, right?
  • Adding the extra liquid, however, means that the tea layer is a softer fudge than the milk layer. The original recipe puts the milk layer on top of the tea, but I reversed this to put the slightly softer tea layer on top.
  • If you can exercise a choice, please choose white chocolate and avoid white baking chips. Why, you ask? Yes, I know the chips are cheaper. But why do you hate orangutans so much? Seriously, what have they ever done to you? Not to be all in your face or anything, but you need to know, if you already don't, that our insatiable American desire for shelf-stable high-fat convenience foods means death to baby orangs. No, I am not just being dramatic. Ok, I am being dramatic, but it's still true that orang habitat on Borneo and Sumatra is being destroyed at an alarming rate, replaced by palm plantations. You know, for all that palm kernel oil.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant research!! And I love how you write this up like how I would in my own bench lab book. I, too, am a huge fan of Thai tea, so I cannot wait to try out your recipe.