Now we’re at the end (sniff).
Oh my fudge! What happened??
Crystallization leads to grainy fudge. There are very detailed articles on The Science of Cooking and Cooking is Science and Tradition which explain why sugar crystals cause grainy fudge, and how introducing the interfering agent and following proper temperature guidelines will prevent this.
The biggest tip I’ve learned is by cooling fudge to 100°F or 38°C before beating it, you will prevent the small crystals from growing, and you will avoid grainy fudge. There are many fudge recipes out there, and each has it’s own cooling threshold, but I plan to follow this rule in all my fudge making because it’s led me to rapturous results.
Overheating too soon will lead to something akin to cement.
Stirring is bad. Generally the only time you stir fudge is before it reaches boiling, and after it has cooled and you beat it before turning into the pan. The rest of the time don’t stir / shake / disturb.
Liquid fudge wasn’t beaten long enough. If you cut a piece and the rest of the “fudge” slowly fills the void in the pan, you’ve got liquid fudge. You can freeze this and use it as a topping for ice cream. Or you can top it with sea salt and pretend to your family “Look I made homemade soft toffees!”
“The sugar brick” occurs when you use too much heat and overbeat it.
Overbeating will make you laugh, then swear like a sailor. It’s too stiff to move now and can’t be shaped into a square.
A lot of things can go wrong when you make fudge. Set yourself up for success by undering the why and how before you start. Pick a nice dry day. Use the right type of tools.
Be kind to yourself, and don’t give up. With practice and a lot of sugar you will get there. And when you make it, you’ll be the person receiving those gratified looks from your nearest and dearest.
“Wow, fudge. You made it? Thank you.”
“Oh my God… this is delicious. How did you make this?!”