Adventures in fudge

Yes,  I know. You’re wondering if you have stumbled onto a baking blog, or a film review of the movie that even the clerks in the adult store don’t want to admit they keep in stock. My research into the mechanics of fudge continues, and I discovered that researching how to make fudge on the internet is dangerous; you run the risk of finding something that will require you to bleach your eyes.

ranted mentioned that I’ve been trying and trying to make penuche fudge. Today I’m working on attempt # 5. I am happy to report attempt # 4 had fudge-like qualities, it was partially set, although too soft, and the texture is wrong, but it tastes like penuche and that is enough to overcome any flaw. I am getting closer.

Tah-dah!

Although nearly impossible to cut, when I removed some and set the rest back into the pan, it didn’t flow out to take over the empty space so I consider this a success.

I also discovered that making traditional fudge is about as much fun as tempering chocolate. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:

  • I studied the penuche recipes from Betters Homes & GardensOld Tyme Fudge, and All Recipes
  • I read volumes of fudge lore
  • I tried the BHG recipe twice, and the Old Tyme recipe three times
  • I know where I’m going wrong (beating the syrup into fudge)
  • After calibrating my thermometer I found it’s 3 degrees Celsius off
  • My fifth batch is in the pan, hopefully setting right now

The easy part is cooking the ingredients into a sugar slurry without scorching.  I am mindful to only stir before it’s boiling, and to remove from heat at the soft ball stage. I add the vanilla and butter and leave it alone without stirring until it cools.

When I beat the syrup into fudge, everything falls apart. Beating fudge by hand is about as pleasant as walking on broken glass. I found a few forums where people said they beat fudge successfully in a Kitchen Aid:

I have used my KA with the flat beater to beat fudge and it worked quite well. You do have to keep a close eye on it, and it is harder to see it clearly in the mixing bowl unless I stop beating and lower the bowl to check. I was surprised how long it took the first time I used my KA, I thought it would be faster, but it took almost as long as beating by hand.

With that in mind, I assumed it would not take longer than 10 minutes, but I wasn’t sure what speed to use. I thought using the first setting would be wise, the speed closest to doing it by hand. That didn’t work, the paddle grabbed the entire mass and shoved it around the bowl without mixing .I upped the speed to 2, which seemed to go better.

On attempt # 5, I beat it for 6 minutes on speed 2, scraping the sides every 120 seconds. After the six minute mark, I beat it for another 4 minutes on speed 3, scraping the sides every 60 seconds. Somewhere between minute 9 and 10 it went wrong again.

I think this is either just before the point I need, or just past it. It started tearing off the bottom of the bowl and felt dry. I beat in one tablespoon of cream, which helped make it fluid again, but after that it wouldn’t stiffen.

Everything I have read says that you beat the fudge until the gloss is gone, and it resembles buttercream instead of syrup. I can tell when it’s glossy, but it’s hard to judge when it’s not.

I know I’m on the right track.  I am waiting for attempt # 5 to set, will know in 2 hours how I did.

If you have any tips about beating old fashioned fudge, I would love to hear them.

Playlist: NAS – Got Myself a Gun

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8 thoughts on “Adventures in fudge

  1. That is truly amazing, I admire your dedication to the craft. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way the cooking books say it should, if it tastes nice then that counts as a win.

  2. hobbyvictim says:

    Your persistence is epic. I hope you nail it soon. At least in time to start gifting fudge for Christmas…

  3. Please, please, please don’t get me started on fudge or I shan’t be able to stop. It look sooooo yummy.

  4. Danielle says:

    I used the bread hook.

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