I have one of those whiteboard magnetic calendars on my refrigerator that I diligently fill out every month. It's even color-coded. It was the first thing I bought after deciding to quit my "real" job, because I knew that having huge swaths of unmanaged time would make me anxious. Even things that I have every week, like the spirits class I'm taking, go on the calendar. It makes me feel calmer to see it all written out, to know that even though I don't go into an office every day, I'm still actually accomplishing things.
For the most part, I'm good about completing the things I write down. I never miss my deadlines for the pieces I have to turn in to other people, I never miss class. But I've been putting off updating this blog. I've written it down so many times; I have a backlog of recipes to post. But when it comes down to it, I keep deciding to catch up on the Americans, or finish Station Eleven, or take Layla to the park. But here I am, and I'm going to try, really, to be better about it. Because people are actually reading this now, despite my best efforts to disappoint them.
By way of apology, I made you some Fernet Branca hot fudge. What's Fernet Branca? Just ask a bartender. Or an Argentinian. But for the quick version, Fernet Branca is the best-known brand of an Italian amaro, or potable bitter, called fernet. It's dark and intensely bitter, with a strong mint top note.
I've been going through a bit of an amaro kick lately, spurred mainly by the Amari 101 article I did, and wanted to incorporate Fernet into a food recipe, rather than a drink. Since Fernet Branca is often served with coffee or Coke, that means it's an obvious partner for dark chocolate. The heavy cream and vanilla in the recipe smooth out a bit of the bitterness, making the flavor round and soft; you taste mainly the mint and some of the warm baking spices. It's delicious on coffee ice cream, or just plain vanilla. And it's even better topped with a bit of smoked sea salt to contrast the sweetness and add another layer of flavor. This might be the most grown-up ice cream sundae you've ever had.
Fernet Branca Hot Fudge
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
- 1/8 cup plus 1 tbs Fernet Branca
Combine cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and half the chocolate chips in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, then add butter, the rest of the chocolate chips, and Fernet Branca. Stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly before serving.