BOO! Looming ominously just beyond sight, Halloween lurks exactly where you’d expect to find it, behind that last door down the creaky corridor at the end of the month. Still, we approach hesitantly, uncertain as we slowly grasp the knob, unaware of the audience’s cries. No, don’t do it! Obviously the killer is in there! October 31st springs out in jarring eruptions of ghouls and goblins, pumpkins and black cats, knocking us out of the usual routine, if only in periodic heart-pounding spurts.
Halloween was once the holiday that I built my entire calendar around, the one day of the year I truly looked forward to. Like most kids who grow up into jaded adults, that enthusiasm has waned, but not entirely disappeared. All Hallows Eve is still an opportunity to indulge in some good-spirited mischief, whimsy, and sweet treats.
If you, too, have been caught off guard by this festive apparition with scant ingredients and nothing prepared to stave off the tiny, hungry demons at your door, don’t panic. I have just the trick for you.
Fudge, without a drop of chocolate? You bet! Highlighting the delicate, ambrosial flavor of full-bodied vanilla bean instead, this creamy confection is sure to be a hit with kids or anyone with an assertive sweet tooth. Though some may argue it’s more akin to solidified frosting than a proper snack, it all depends on the quality of your vanilla, and tolerance for a bit of sugary indulgence. Simply slice it into small cubes if you don’t have a ghostly cookie cutter, as just a little bit is sure to satisfy.
Ghostly Vanilla Fudge
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Vegan Butter
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch square pan, and set aside.
In a large, high-sided saucepan, combine the sugar, non-dairy milk, and salt. Stir thoroughly to distribute the ingredients, and then leave the mixture alone until it comes to a steady boil. Clip on a candy thermometer, and cook until it reaches 238 – 240 degrees, stirring CONSTANTLY, or else the pot is liable to boil over and make a big sticky mess- Mark my words!
Once it reaches the proper temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool to 110 degrees. Add in the butter and vanilla, but do NOT touch it while it’s cooling; just keep that spatula at bay for now. As soon as it hits 110, start beating it vigorously with a sturdy spoon or spatula, and just keep stirring until it feels like your arms are about to fall off. It should take anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes before the mixture will thicken and loose some of its shine. At that point, you can pour it into your prepared pan, tap it a few times on the counter to smooth out the top and release any air bubbles, and then transfer it to the fridge to chill.
Let rest for at least 3 hours before cutting, into either simple squares or cute shapes, using a small ghost-shaped cookie cutter. For ghostly eyes, press round sprinkles into the heads, or use tiny drops of melted chocolate (applied with a toothpick.)