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Old 12-20-2010, 02:17 AM   #1
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New to making fudge

I've just recently been introduced to the world of fudge, and it's an interesting area of expertise. I've made three batches so far, with wildly varying results in terms of consistency (almost perfect, caramel, powder), and so I need a bit of guidance here.

I like to read up on techniques and instructions before I get into the making of food, but the directions for fudge seem to vary almost as wildly as my results.

Some articles say that after bringing the fudge up to soft ball stage, you need to immediately stir it until it sets up, others say to let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes or so, until it hits 110F, before starting to stir. Some say to stir constantly while it boils, some say as soon as it starts to boil to stop stirring completely. I've seen others that tell me not to put the butter in until after soft ball stage, since apparently it covers the crystals and prevents them from dissolving, and recipes that say to lump everything together in the beginning.

Needless to say, it's very bewildering to me.

One of the recipes I tried:
Maple Cream Fudge, Recipe Maple Cream Fudge

I stirred until it reached soft ball stage (didn't lower the temp, though), and then let it rest in a cool water bath (still in the pot of course) for 10 minutes. This water bath was suggested by a friend of mine who makes fudge. Well, after the 10 minutes, I stuck my candy thermometer into it, it read about 110F, but it was about the consistency of Mack's Toffee, so I was unable to stir it at all. Basically what resulted was a slab of caramel that stays solid only as long as it's in the fridge, and melts when you pick it up.

Is there anyone who can clear this up for me?

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Old 12-20-2010, 03:30 AM   #2
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No, wish I could... but my only suggestion would be to stick with one recipe and get that one down pat before trying another. Meaning, don't change the ingredients at all but maybe mess with the methods.

I'm sure the differences in instructions are due to the different ingredients and how they interact with one another and with heat. I'm sure an expert could give a better breakdown of why one method works and another not so well.

I stick to the easy ones, like:

Original Fantasy Fudge
Kraft Foods / Yields 3 pounds

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts (optional. Both walnut and pecans are good. I use walnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring and not letting to scorch. Make sure your heat is at medium.

Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts & vanilla beat till blended.

Pour into greased or parchment lined 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

(I prefer parchment lined as it's so easy to pop out and cut into pretty squares. Here's a little parchment paper trick for you: Cut your piece to fit down into pan with paper coming up sides. Spray your baking pan with cooking spray on bottom and up sides. Immediately lay your paper down inside and press down onto cooking spray. Spray will help your paper stick in place and form to the pan better.)

Note: Can be made in a smaller pan for thicker squares.

I'm interested in what the real candy makers have to say though. It's something I should learn how to do. I guess if I can master a pie crust I can learn to master candy too!
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Old 12-20-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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Heh, I have such a short attention span, that when I try new things, I can't seem to stick to one recipe, I have to try them all! But the maple cream fudge seems like the best place to try to perfect it.



This is a video I watched, and he stirs it through the boiling process, and his fudge looks marvelous. According to the science behind fudge, however, his fudge SHOULD be hard and grainy, because of increased agitation.

I'll keep trying this recipe until I've got it. One more question though; I use REAL maple syrup, not like the stuff people put on pancakes. Should I be using that? I'm wondering if it's the sugar content difference that might have affected it.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kujikiri View Post
Heh, I have such a short attention span, that when I try new things, I can't seem to stick to one recipe, I have to try them all! But the maple cream fudge seems like the best place to try to perfect it.


This is a video I watched, and he stirs it through the boiling process, and his fudge looks marvelous. According to the science behind fudge, however, his fudge SHOULD be hard and grainy, because of increased agitation.

I'll keep trying this recipe until I've got it. One more question though; I use REAL maple syrup, not like the stuff people put on pancakes. Should I be using that? I'm wondering if it's the sugar content difference that might have affected it.
Your fudge experience sounds like mine. I will definitely give the method in the video a try. He seems to take care of the crystallization issue by making sure that the sugar never touches the sides of the pan until it is dissolved. Joy of Cooking has a step with a lid on the pot, so the condense water will wash the sugar crystals off the sides of the pot and back into the rest of the ingredients. I think the video chef's method probably works better. I suspect that stirring brings any crystals on the side of the pot into the mixture and that's why we are told not to stir.

I guess whether you use real maple syrup or maple flavoured syrup depends on where the recipe is from. Here in Quebec, we would never dream of using anything but real maple syrup in a fudge recipe. Many of us would never dream of using any maple flavoured syrup on pancakes. If I don't have real maple syrup for my pancakes, I use something that doesn't taste of maple.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:44 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'm from Manitoba; not quite as close to maple syrup as Quebec is, but I still appreciate the quality difference. I was just thinking it might have been the sugar crystallization, and the real maple syrup just didn't have enough sugar to crystallize it properly.

With the chef's method, my only problem with it is that I just like to mix madly and sugar gets everywhere; even if I kept the sugar in the middle, it would surely find its way to the sides before it was dissolved :P
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kujikiri View Post
I've just recently been introduced to the world of fudge, and it's an interesting area of expertise. I've made three batches so far, with wildly varying results in terms of consistency (almost perfect, caramel, powder), and so I need a bit of guidance here.

I like to read up on techniques and instructions before I get into the making of food, but the directions for fudge seem to vary almost as wildly as my results.

Some articles say that after bringing the fudge up to soft ball stage, you need to immediately stir it until it sets up, others say to let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes or so, until it hits 110F, before starting to stir. Some say to stir constantly while it boils, some say as soon as it starts to boil to stop stirring completely. I've seen others that tell me not to put the butter in until after soft ball stage, since apparently it covers the crystals and prevents them from dissolving, and recipes that say to lump everything together in the beginning.

Needless to say, it's very bewildering to me.

One of the recipes I tried:
Maple Cream Fudge, Recipe Maple Cream Fudge

I stirred until it reached soft ball stage (didn't lower the temp, though), and then let it rest in a cool water bath (still in the pot of course) for 10 minutes. This water bath was suggested by a friend of mine who makes fudge. Well, after the 10 minutes, I stuck my candy thermometer into it, it read about 110F, but it was about the consistency of Mack's Toffee, so I was unable to stir it at all. Basically what resulted was a slab of caramel that stays solid only as long as it's in the fridge, and melts when you pick it up.

Is there anyone who can clear this up for me?
Allow me to clear this up for you, very simply kujikiri.
My days of "iffy" and expensive mistakes with fudge are over.
I just completed my 5th batch of fudge, and it's perfect every single time without fail.

18 oz. chocolate chips (3 cups)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk.
dash of salt
1 tsp. good vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix chips and sweetened condensed milk in a glass bowl. Microwave for two minutes, pausing to stir three times in those two minutes, till chips are completely melted into the milk. Stir in salt, vanilla and nuts. Pour into a foil lined 8x8 in pan leaving enough foil to lift out candy later. Refrigerate at least two hours, lift candy out of pan, and cut into even squares.

I have used milk choc. chips, white choc. chips, butterscotch chips, dark choc. chips, and peanut butter chips. Each batch is perfect.
This is the best fudge you will ever eat, and there is none of the usual "mystery" of making fudge involved. Enjoy all the complements you will receive, and Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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You could try Zhizara's simple fudge: Needed good candy thermometer for fudge?, post #2. If I had the ingredients in the house, I would be making it right now.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:03 PM   #8
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You could try Zhizara's simple fudge: Needed good candy thermometer for fudge?, post #2. If I had the ingredients in the house, I would be making it right now.
TL, Z and I make the same recipe. We've about decided in PM to name it "No Brainer Perfect Fudge"
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
TL, Z and I make the same recipe. We've about decided in PM to name it "No Brainer Perfect Fudge"
Oh yeah, I guess it is. Blame it on the five glasses of wine

I like the name. Maybe you guys should post it as a thread.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
TL, Z and I make the same recipe. We've about decided in PM to name it "No Brainer Perfect Fudge"
i make fudge the same way. sometimes , i use butterscotch chips or mint or even peanut butter chips. people think i am a whiz . i never tell them. i am in process of making truffles using pretty much the same recipe. only difference is a whole tablespoon vanilla.
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