3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or light cream
2 tablespoons espresso powder or
2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Coffee beans (optional)
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil; set the pan aside.
Butter sides of a heavy 3-quart saucepan.
Combine sugar, half-and-half or light cream, espresso powder or instant coffee crystals, corn syrup and cinnamon in the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low, continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring mixture occasionally, until thermometer registers 234 degrees F, soft-ball stage (25 to 35 minutes). Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil. Remove saucepan from heat.
Add butter and vanilla extract, but do not stir. Cool, without stirring, to 110 degrees F (about 55 to 60 minutes). Remove thermometer from saucepan.
Beat mixture vigorously with a clean wooden spoon until fudge just begins to thicken; stir in nuts. Continue beating until fudge becomes very thick and stiff, and just starts to lose its gloss (about 10 minutes total). Spread fudge immediately into prepared pan.
Score fudge into squares while warm, and if desired, press a coffee bean into each piece. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut into squares. Store tightly covered.
Makes 1 7/8 pounds (64 servings).
Source: Eileen Gilson, North Star Cooking School
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