My entire adult life, a little longer than I want to admit, I have never, ever made fudge…EVER!
I find this incredibly odd, given that I believe chocolate should be a food group all on its own.
So, in the midst of a chocolate craving the other day, with memories (vague) of my mom making fudge and how good it was, and being on a fierce budget, I went searching for recipes.
I only had a couple of criteria – had to use cocoa powder since I have no chocolate chips in the house and really didn’t want to use evaporated or sweetened, condensed milk (strange stuff). Off to Google I went.
After much searching and discarding, I found TA-DA! https://www.hersheys.com/celebrate/holidays/recipedetail.aspx?id=5303
Now, I read through it – ingredients? Check! Excellent, chocolate craving about to be fixed!
I also read through the instructions, and the note…where it says “This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult.” Challenge accepted!
Clearly, I’m an idiot!
I measured, combined, mixed and started cooking. Bear in mind, I do not have a candy thermometer, however, I did have a measuring cup of cold water standing at the ready (not sitting on the stove where it would get warm). I stirred maniacally, then settled into a rhythm. Soon, although it felt like forever, it started to boil. I jammed in a meat thermometer, which doesn’t get to a high enough temperature, but pretty close. I thought that once it got to the highest temperature it recorded, I would give it a minute or two, then start testing for soft ball stage in the water…..clever, right? hmmmmm
The thermometer reached its maximum temp, so I started testing in the water. I figured it looked right, so off the heat it came. Over to the counter, in went the butter I pre-measured and the vanilla. And the waiting began. Temperature is supposed to go down to about 110 degrees. I waited….and waited…..and waited, and at long last, close enough! Now, to mix, with a wooden spoon. No worries, I have plenty of those!
So, I mixed, and I mixed and I recruited my son (the Mancub) to mix, and I got absolutely nowhere! It was still glossy and soupy. Not being one to quit, I whipped out the Kitchen-Aid mixer and poured the soupy business in there, put on the whisk attachment & beat the crap out of it. Nothing! Switched to the paddle attachment. Went straight to water consistency.
At this point, I was invested in not losing my ingredients to the garbage, not to mention, I still had a chocolate craving that wouldn’t quit – my kitchen smelled incredible and damnit, I wanted fudge! Back to Google. How to save my fudge. Google says re-cook it, you idiot (I’m paraphrasing). So I did.
This time, however, I chilled out a skooch, and let the fudge, when it got to the lovely rolling boil, cook for a while. Then, when I did the water test, I discovered what soft-ball actually looked like (sorry, I didn’t get a picture, but I will next time). Obviously, I rushed it the first time. Whoops!
So, I pulled the fudge off the stove, set it to cool. It was definitely thicker this time, so I started to have hope. Hope that I wouldn’t end up with a fudge sauce for ice cream – which I do not have in the freezer!
I got to mixing when the temperature was about right. Seemed to be thickening. Oh!My!Gawd! The glossiness is going away! Success!
I poured the chocolate loveliness into my prepared 8×8 pan….lined with tinfoil and buttered into submission! Drooled only a little and set it to solidify in the fridge. Checked on it. Not a solid as I think it should be. Into the freezer it goes! Still not totally solid, but certainly more fudge-like than the original try.
I made freezer fudge. It is sort of like icing, according to the Mancub (he’s okay with it). It has to live in the freezer, though. Calgary is pretty warm, my fudge is pretty soft, so it stays in there. There’s so much sugar it won’t freeze solid, so there is that.
Lesson learned – patience is a virtue I really must learn and put into practice!