There are no words in the English language I hate more than “Yankee Swap.” Like, seriously the worst. Agree? I mean, exchanging gifts with family and friends is awesome since they know you and will likely think of something perfect to get you. Even Secret Santa is cool with me since it can be personalized and thoughtful. But Yankee Swap? Can’t I just get myself a gift and call it a day?
It could be simply that I have horrendous Yankee Swap luck. Or it could be my own fault, considering I get serious anxiety about stealing gifts from others. Or the fact that when I get a good gift, I’m horrible at being inconspicuous and my efforts of hiding in the corner and pretending I’m not playing anymore never work. Or maybe it’s just the fact that if I purchase a $25 bottle of alcohol, I want to bring home an equally delicious bottle of alcohol and not a cat calendar or coaster set. So, sue me.
Yankee swaps are a holiday “no, thanks.” Gingerbread is a holiday “yes, please.” And can potentially make up for a really rough round of swapping. I actually have no excuse this year… I went to my work Yankee Swap with a bottle of vodka and left with a bottle of Bailey’s. So, I really shouldn’t be complaining. But this was my first time ever with any sort of Yankee Swap success and I still think they’re the worst.
You know how some people carry around their favorite hot sauce in their purse? Well, that’s basically what this Gingerbread Extract from Wilton has been like for me these last couple weeks.
It’s probably not meant to be put on everything, but nobody told me that. And so far, it’s been working on everything. I could present you with about 65 recipes featuring gingerbread extract, but I’m going to start with this Gingerbread Chocolate Caramel Fudge. It was a strong reminder in my life that I do not make fudge nearly enough. It’s easy… Almost scary easy.
There are lots of different techniques for making fudge, but this recipe (adapted from a Martha Stewart classic) simply requires you to mix and heat chocolate (I used semisweet and dark, butter, sweetened condensed milk, and gingerbread extract). Once the chocolate is melted and mixture is all smooth, spread it into a parchment paper-lined pan.
I also melted some caramel bits with a little bit of cream and swirled it over the top of the fudge.
And let the whole thing harden for a couple hours in the fridge!
Oh wait… I forgot one of the most important parts. Edible gold stars should be sprinkled on top. It is the holiday season, after all!
Oh man. Why is this so easy to make and what will become of me now that I have this knowledge?
Also, why a I not also carrying my little vile of edible gold stars around to sprinkle on everything? I can totally become that girl. You know, the weird one who puts gold stars on everything she eats. It can be my thing. I do think it would bring a little extra cheer to my days.
I am without a doubt the kind of person that craves something sweet after dinner. It doesn’t have to be anything huge… But I prefer something I can savor a bit. This fudge is perfect. It can obviously be cut into much smaller squares, for a sweet holiday treat any time you please.
The gingerbread extract most definitely gives it a prominent gingerbread flavor, with a little added depth and texture from the caramel. And, of course, a really deep chocolate flavor. I used 2 cups of dark chocolate and 1 semisweet in my recipe, but you can switch it up however you want.
If you’re still scrambling for gifting ideas (hi, welcome to my world), you should know that edible gifts are oftentimes preferred over things like cat calendars and ugly sweaters. Especially when they have a special holiday flair. I’m still waiting for the world to pick up on gingerbread as being as cool as pumpkin spice, but so far they’ve been letting me down. I’m thankful Wilton recognizes the flavor in lots of different ways, but mostly with this extract.
I considered gifting this fudge. But then I ate most of it myself. Because I most definitely work with the “one for you, three for me” gift purchasing technique. However, chances are high that I’ll be making this again in the next 8 days until Christmas!
Are you a gingerbread flavor lover?
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ Tbsp gingerbread extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup caramel bits
- 2 Tbsp cream
- Spray or brush cooking oil into an 8x8-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper, being sure to leave overhang on all sides.
- In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a double boiler), add butter, both kinds of chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, gingerbread extract, and salt.
- Stir the mixture until chocolate is completely melted. Mixture should be warm, but not hot.
- Remove from heat and pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Smooth top.
- Place caramel bits and cream in a small heatproof bowl and microwave for one minute at 50% power. Stir mixture. Repeat until caramel is completely melted.
- Drizzle caramel over the top of the fudge in the pan and using a knife, swirl.
- Sprinkle on edible gold stars, sprinkles, or other decoration if desired.
- Refrigerate fudge for at least 2 hours, until completely set.
- Remove fudge from pan and cut into squares of desired size.