Sanctified

Although they look the same, one of these jars contains burnt caramel, and the other is delicious.

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I found this recipe on Bake Like a Pro. It took 6 tries before I got it to work. It’s about as much fun as making fudge. It seemed like a really simple recipe but I had a lot of trouble getting this right.

Time required: 4 hours  (1 hour of actual work)

Yields: about one cup

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $14

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Ingredients:

  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 TBSP water
  • ⅓ C butter (cold)
  • ½ C heavy cream (room temp)

Instructions:

1. Add sugar, salt, and water to sauce pot, tilt pot to moisten the sugar. A ring of sugar crystals will form but pay it no mind.

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2. Heat on Low, occasionally tilting the pot, until all the sugar has dissolved and it starts to simmer. The mixture will have soapey-looking bubbles.

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This takes forever and is really boring. Don’t leave your stove. I ruined the first batch that way.

Eventually it reaches full boil and the colour will subtly shift to gold. This part took about 25 minutes before I noticed the colour change. When you tilt the pot, a delightful aroma wafts up now.

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3. After about 6 minutes it will darken to orange. This is the part where it is caramelizing and developing a flavour. You don’t want to yank it off the heat too soon but you also don’t want it to darken to deep copper or it’s burnt at that point.

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(I let it cook for 2 more minutes then removed from heat.)

4. Add cold butter and stir until completely melted.

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5. Add warm cream and stir until thoroughly mixed.

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6. Return to stove on Low, it took about 7 minutes to get back to a boil. I let it go for about 2 minutes then removed from heat.

7. Cool on counter 30 minutes. (On batch 3, I only cooled it 20 min and ran into temperature shock where the fat separated.)

8. A skim formed. Strained into mason jar and took it outside to admire because it was so pretty.

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9. Chill at least one hour and it will thicken up.

Verdict: FINALLY! I am too tired and hot to temper chocolate tonight, but I have liquid caramel. Stay tuned for what this goes inside.

Playlist: Nine Inch Nails

The big come down

Round 5 was doing so well. I thought I had it. Alas; it’s burnt and tastes vile. I sense I am almost there. This time the fat didn’t separate, and it has the right consistency. Am going to try one more time today. Focusing on: I have made caramel sauce. It doesn’t taste good, but it is caramel sauce.

There is a stage when the sugar is boiling, it takes on a golden tint, which quickly deepens and goes through several shades of orange before it attains a rich coppery red. Which is where I stopped. And that is too far. At this point it’s already burnt.

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Still not the caramel you are looking for

This is a classic case of denial. For two minutes it smelled like caramel. Then it changed. I ignored my olfactory senses and plowed ahead. Put it in a nice mason jar. Put it in the fridge. Ate a spoonful later. Which tasted about as good as what you’d imagine scorched caramel to taste like.

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Ugh I am so pissed off. I had it. It was golden and heavenly. And then that happened.

 

This is not the caramel you are looking for

Five minute caramel my ass.

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Was going to try making a better filled chocolate tonight after work. My caramel would have time to firm up in the fridge. If I had caramel. What I have is the reeking results of scorched sugar and a smoke detector freaking out and terrified cats. That’s what I have.

Chocolate fudge fail

Blast. I was really looking forward to this. How disappointing.

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This recipe comes from Old Tyme Fudge. I love that website. I’m pretty sure it’s a great recipe and I screwed up. Phooey.

I wrote up this post last night after I put the fudge sludge in the pan. So, just pretend it set and follow along.

Before you get started: Have you read my fudge guide? I have done this successfully before, I swear.

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Time required: 8.5 hours (about 1 hour of actual doing stuff)

Yields: about 30 pieces

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $34.

Cost per piece: $1.14

Kitchen implements I used:

  • KitchenAid mixer
  • 8″ square pan
  • tin foil
  • heavy-bottomed sauce pan (2.2 qt size is not big enough)
  • silicon spatula
  • lots of extra spoons

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used Callebaut Belgian chocolate)
  • 3 C sugar
  • 2 TBSP corn syrup
  • 1¼ C milk
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

1. Line the square pan with foil and grease it. Also grease the entire inside of the sauce pan, all the way up the sides. Grease the flat beater of the mixer too.

2. Chop the chocolate and melt on Low heat until smooth.

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3. Combine everything in the sauce pan except the butter and the vanilla.  Heat on Medium, stirring constantly.

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And definitely using a bigger pot next time.

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4. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to Med-Low and STOP STIRRING. Insert candy thermometer.

Yikes. This is almost disaster territory. Perhaps this was a portent of things to come.

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5. Once mixture reaches 238°F / 114°C, remove from heat.

6. Carefully place pot into cold water bath. Add butter but DO NOT STIR.

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7. Let it cool (it only took 30 min this time) until temp falls to 120°F / 49°C.

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Once the mixture has cooled to this stage, there will be a skim on top, just ignore it. Transfer to mixing bowl and pour in the vanilla.

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8. Beat it. How long? Who knows.

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I planned to do 28 minutes on speed 2 which worked great for my penuche batch, but after 13 minutes it has acquired “that frosting look” which I’ve read about before.

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9. Pour into prepared pan and smooth, let sit at least 4 hours.

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10. Lift out of pan and score the top with a knife, then slice into squares.

What’s this what’s this?!

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Argh!!

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God, no! That is never a good sign. Fudge shouldn’t rise with the knife.

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Verdict: It tastes delicious but is a failure. Supposedly fudge is ready to be poured once it looks like frosting. Whoever said that can go directly to hell and not pass go. I will freeze this until I figure out what to do with it. I’ll try this again soon, stay tuned.

Playlist: 46 albums of Sailor Moon music!

All about fudge

Prepare to get schooled. I’ve added four how-to guides, all devoted to fudge. If you have never made fudge, or your fudge never turns out, this is for you. It’s written for the total newbie, and explains the science of good fudge making, how to actually beat it successfully, and the common problems that ruin fudge.

Fudge 101 – introduction to fudge

Fudge 102 – fudge for newbs

Fudge 201 – beating fudge

Fudge 202 – it’s all over but the crying

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What are you waiting for? Get fudging.

 

Penuche fudge – SUCCESS!!

Miracles really do happen. I made penuche fudge. And it set! Pardon me while I sob with joy.

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I guess the sixth time is the charm? It’s been over a year and a half since I first dabbled in making fudge, and it was such a discouraging endeavor I promised myself I’d wait a good long while before subjecting myself to such misery again.

I found this recipe on Old Tyme Fudge, and I followed it exactly (aside from one minor adjustment since I ran out of something.) I really like this site because the author writes very clear recipes, and has good tips for fudge newbs.

Before you get started:

Underbeaten fudge will never set, and overbeaten fudge will turn into a brick. The time window between those stages is razor-thin. Beating fudge to the proper consistency is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in the kitchen, and I’m still learning.

If your fudge doesn’t set, or gets bricked, don’t get discouraged! You can freeze underbeaten fudge to be used as a topping for ice cream, and bricked fudge can be re-melted.

Don’t go trying to double recipes or substitute ingredients until you know what you’re doing.

Fudge must be stirred, and then not stirred, at specific times. If you stir at the wrong stage you will get grainy lumpy fudge which is worse than having no fudge at all.

Hot sugar is napalm. Once it’s getting close to the right temperature you have to watch it like a hawk and get ready to pounce. Turn off the tv, turn off the phone, shun the world when you are making fudge.

Humidity will ruin your fudge, unless you compensate for that by increasing the cooking time and temperature, but that’s more at the expert-level. If it’s wet outside don’t even bother.

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Time required: 8.5 hours (about 1 hour of actual doing stuff)

Yields: about 30 pieces

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $25

Cost per piece: $0.83 (can you price perfection?)

Kitchen implements I used:

  • KitchenAid mixer
  • 8″ square pan
  • tin foil
  • heavy-bottomed sauce pan
  • silicon spatula or sturdy wooden spoon
  • lots of extra spoons

Ingredients:

  • 4 C brown sugar (I used 3 C golden brown and 1 C dark brown)
  • 1½ C of 2% milk
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ C golden corn syrup
  • 3 TBSP butter, unsalted
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Line the square pan with foil and grease it. Also grease the entire inside of the sauce pan, all the way up the sides. Grease the flat beater of the mixer too.

2. Combine everything in the sauce pan except the vanilla.  Heat on Medium, stirring constantly.

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Ugh, yummy!

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3. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to Med-Low and STOP STIRRING. Insert candy thermometer.

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4. Once mixture reaches 238°F / 114°C, remove from heat. It takes a long time for the sugar to reach the correct heat, mine took about an hour. Hence the beer.

5. Just as it’s about to hit the right temperature, remove from stove and carefully place pot into cold water bath.  DO NOT STIR. Sugar will keep getting hotter and hotter if you let it sit there, so the cold water bath will immediately bring down the temperature and prevents the fudge from overcooking.

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6. Let it cool for about an hour, until temp falls to 120°F / 49°C. Once the mixture has cooled to this stage, there will be a skim on top, just ignore it. Transfer to mixing bowl and pour in the vanilla.

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Also don’t worry about the fat that rises to the surface.

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7. People tell you “beat until it loses the gloss” or “beat until it lightens”. That’s really hard to judge when you are new. Today’s fudge took 28 minutes of beating on speeds 1, 2, and 3. In the past I’ve had fudge turn into a brick under 9 minutes, so there is a learning curve here.

It was a dark molasses colour at first.

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After about 10 minutes it had lightened considerably but was still runny.

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Now 20 minutes in and I’m worried, why isn’t it firming up? What have I done wrong?

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About 25 minutes, still seems fairly glossy, and runny, but when I raise the beater the ropey strands are getting stiff.

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After 28 minutes I couldn’t take it anymore and stopped. I am not sure if it’s because a KitchenAid beats with such force, but it seemed like the beater was moving too easily through the fudge. When I would stop to scrape the bowl it was harder to do by hand so I figured it must be close to done.

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8. Pour into prepared pan and let sit at least 4 hours.  Hmmm, air bubbles. I don’t remember air bubbles in fudge before.

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9. Lift out of pan and score the top with a knife, then slice into squares.

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Real fudge is creamy, and sort of shears away from the knife. It also melts on your tongue, and tastes amazing. Like this!!

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Verdict:

“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. It set. Come look, it set!!”

Sigh. So good. Am so happy.

Playlist: Celldweller – Stay With Me (Unlikely)

Penuche fudge round 5

Pictureless post is pictureless. There are two completed desserts from last week that won’t be featured on my blog because I forgot to take pictures. Oops.

Last week I wrote about my 4th batch of penuche which was successful, and my 5th batch which was setting. I forgot to take pictures of the 5th batch later that day, because I was too busy eating pieces since it turned out!! I was so excited, it was delicious, and more importantly; it set.

Stopping for photos was the last thing on my mind. It had that gorgeous penuche taste, such an intriguing flavour. It was not as firm as I would like, and I need to master the beating and pouring process, but I’m getting closer. ^^

I became fudge-fatigued and ran out of dark brown sugar, so a break was needed.

The other dessert I wanted to post but forgot was the apple crisp that Boyfriend made for Thanksgiving, which was delicious. I am going to push him to make another one soon and if he cooperates I’ll have something to post.

It’s possible I have the energy to bake something today. You’ll have to wait and see.

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