Goat's milk secret ingredient in Becky's fudge
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 08:31
WOODVILLE - Becky Giesler has a ready source of the most unusual ingredient in her yummy sweet fudge - goat's milk.
|Becky Geisler makes fudge with goat-milk. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
In fact, she can get goat's milk year round, just by heading out to the pasture on the Elmore farm where she and her husband of 10 years, Matt, reside.
They raise goats along with chickens, horses, and even French angoras. Next, they plan to acquire a llama. "He'll protect our goats" besides being a great source of wool.
The Gieslers are operating their farm in a holistic back-to-nature manner that applies to most everything they consume and some of what they wear.
"We have naturally grown grains. We're not certified, but we follow organic principles," said Becky Giesler. "We grind our own flours. Anything you can think of, we make."
This is their fifth season of raising goats, an animal that supplies them with more than just milk. "We do goat soap and cheese and yogurt."
The couple's "biggest fan," says Giesler, is Deb Yeagle, owner of the Novelties and Nostalgia store at 330 W. Main St., in nearby Woodville.
Giesler supplies Yeagle with soaps, lotion bars, sugar scrubs and bath salts, all currently available for sale at the shop.
"The soap is kind of a hobby that grew out of control," she said with a laugh.
"You start having that milk supply" from all the goats "and that's when you start experimenting with the ice cream and the cheeses and the fudge. You don't want it to go to waste."
Many people are surprised to hear all the products that can be made with goat's milk.
The fudge is not currently for sale at the shop; instead, Giesler is generously offering the recipe for this week's Cook's Corner.
"People will say it's sweeter than cow's milk," Giesler said of goat's milk. "I know it's easier to digest. My daughter doesn't really handle store-bought milk too well" but she's fine with the goat's milk.
It was the Gieslers' three children - ages 7, 6 and 4 - who first led them to raising goats.
"One of our friends used to give us free milk, but once you start it's addictive."
Although she's never sold her fudge, Giesler has shared it with others outside her own family.
"I took some down for the crowd that does spinning down at Deb's" store. "I've made it for potlucks and at home. The kids love it. They're your food critics, and the toughest ones," she noted.
For Giesler, fudge is strictly a seasonal indulgence.
"We don't have air conditioning because we wouldn't want to go outside and work in summer if we had it. But the fudge wouldn't really set up" in summer heat and humidity.
Giesler says hers is "a real simple recipe," and one that uses cane sugar. She likes that, since her family has cut corn syrup out of their diet entirely.
She has found a good recipe for cane sugar-based syrup online, and is also providing that to Sentinel-Tribune readers for anyone who really wants to make the fudge in the fully authentic way that Giesler does.
She also uses organic Demerara sugar.
It's a busy time on the Giesler farm. "I'm waiting for my last doe to kid right now; they started in February. We have seven does right now, not counting the bucks and kids."
But Giesler enjoys the seasonal rhythms.
She grew up in Holland. It was her husband her was born and raised in Elmore "and will never set foot elsewhere. He had ventured away from the farm when his dad had retired, but when we had our kids we knew we wanted to get back to it.
"Raising all our own food instead of buying it at the grocery store" is just a part of their seamless approach to family farm living.
Becky's goat-milk fudge
9 T Cocoa
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups goat milk
2 TBS Cane sugar syrup* (substitute it for corn syrup)
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
In a large pan mix the cocoa and sugar. Add the goat milk and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently. Continue cooking and stir occasionally over medium low heat until it reaches the soft ball stage (234 degrees).
Remove from heat and add butter. Do not stir.
Cool without stirring to 150 degrees; add vanilla and salt. Stir well to incorporate butter. Keep on stirring till the fudge loses its gloss. At this point pour and spread it quickly into an 8-by-8-inch pan.
Cut when cooled.
* DIY Cane Sugar Syrup
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups (16 ounces) water
5 1/3 cups (2 lbs + 10 ounces) granulated cane sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
4-quart sauce pan
a candy thermometer that can clip to the side of the pan
stainless steel or silicone spoon - not wood
Clean glass jars with lids - half-pint jars are ideal
Combine all of the ingredients in the saucepan and stir until the sugar is completely moistened. Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan and set the pan over high heat. Do not stir the sugar after this point.
As the sugar comes to a boil, dip the pastry brush in a dish of water and brush down the sides. This dissolves any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan that could cause the syrup to re-crystallize. Once the syrup comes to a full boil, you don't need to brush the sides anymore. (If you don't have a pastry brush, you can also cover the pan with a lid for two minutes just as the sugar comes to a boil. The steam trapped in the pan will wash any crystals from the sides.)
Boil the syrup until it just barely reaches a temperature of 240¬∞ Fahrenheit (in other words, its better to be a few degrees under than a few degrees over). Immediately turn off the heat, remove the candy thermometer, and carefully move the pan to a cool spot on the stove or a cooling rack. Allow the syrup to sit undisturbed until it has cooled completely, at least an hour.
Gently pour the cooled syrup into clean glass jars, seal with the lids, and store in the cupboard. Store them where they won't be jostled too much, as this can cause the syrup to crystallize. It will keep for at least two months.
To use the syrup: This syrup tends to be thicker than corn syrup and can be difficult to pour or measure. To make it a little more workable, remove the metal lid from the glass jar and microwave the jar of corn syrup on HIGH in 30 second bursts until it's pourable ( 1 - 1.5 minutes total). Alternatively, you can put the jar in a saucepan of simmering water to warm the syrup.
One last note: Re-heating can sometimes cause the syrup to begin crystallizing. We've found it best to store the syrup in half-pint (1 cup) jars, which is what most recipes call for. This way we can heat and use one portion at a time without leftovers.