Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Krowki: Polish Cream Fudge
Dulce de Leche is a wonderful mix of milk and sugar, simmered down to the consistency of a smooth caramel or crumbly fudge. While it’s known mostly in the new world with regional variations in Central and South America, other countries have their own versions. The Polish Cream Fudge or Krowki (which means little cow) is made from milk, sugar, butter, glucose syrup (usually corn syrup here in North America), vanilla and cream. The preparation varies a little bit from Dulce de Leche but the result is the same: a tender and melt-in-your-mouth distillation of dairy and sugar.
I found these versions of Krowki at a wonderful market called Caputo’s in Illinois. The market has an amazing array of candies from all sorts of countries, though Poland was especially well represented. I was hesitant to travel with chocolate, so when I spotted the Krowki I knew I had to pick some up. They had three varieties: Luxury Cream Fudge, Sesame Cream Fudge and Chocolate Cream Fudge. I opted for the first two.
The bag was pretty simple, just a sticker with the essential information slapped onto a clear cellophane bag by the importer (Eagle Distributors Inc.). Inside the candies were in their more traditional wax paper wrappers (though still in Polish & English).
The Supreme Cream Fudge is so charming in the yellow, brown and white wrapper. Each piece is well protected, there’s also an inner glassine wrapper around the pieces and crisp folds to make the shape.
The pieces are little rectangular rods. They smell sweet, toasty and a little milky. They’re glossy and look like they could be caramels. Instead the bite is more intriguing than that. It’s a little bit layered. The edges are like a lightly grainy fudge and the center is like a dulce de leche, a little dollop of creamy caramel. The flavor is overall sweet but the texture provides a great mouthfeel. The grainy sugar crystals dissolve quickly and the milk notes keep it from being too sweet or sticky. It’s a bit lower in fat than some fudges, as it uses mostly milk instead of butter.
If you’re a fan of penuche or non-chocolate fudge, you might like this. I enjoy the variations in texture, the transition from the grainy to the creamy. The toasted flavors that toffee or caramel has aren’t quite there though.
I’d never seen sesame fudge before, so the Sesame Cream Fudge was just too much of a curiosity for me to pass it up. The little wrappers are similar, just a darker shade of peach instead of yellow.
It smells a little odd, very grassy - a little like tahini. I expected it to be like halvah, as I wasn’t sure if it was sesame seeds or sesame paste.
Instead it’s simply different. The texture is a little firmer, a little crumblier and drier than the Luxury Cream version. The flavor of the sesame seeds also make it less sweet. The seeds are light, not dark toasted. They give a little chewy note to it along with the green tea notes. The grainy milk fudge was good and satisfying.
I don’t know if I’d buy either of these again for myself, but the fact that they’re individually packaged little bites of milk fudge in such cute wrappers certainly warrants a look for sweets enthusiasts.
About three years ago I found a version of these being sold in the United States called Caramoos, which also came in an interesting variety of flavors (including Honey). This direct import version is quite a bit less expensive, even when purchased in small 6 ounce portions like this instead of the 2.5 pounds on Amazon.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.