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Old 05-12-2009, 06:22 PM   #1
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Why does my fudge keep failing?

Hello,

I'm a huge fan of fudge and want to make my own. I've tried many, many times, but evertime the batch fails. I'm using a standard recipe, e.g.:

3 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cups half n'half
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

These ingrediens are boiled at medium heat and the inside of the pan is washed with a baking brush and water. When the mixture has reached 240 F I removed the pan from the stove, added 1/4 cup of soft butter and let it stand undisturbed until 110 F.

This is all fine, I think. At this point my mixture is still smooth and shiny and with no sugar crystals. But when I stir it (gently or very vigorously, respectively) is becomes very grainy and immediately hard.

I've tried different things; e.g. pooring the mixture onto a teflon-coated sheet and then I gently mixed in the butter when it had cooled down. It was thick when I transferred it to the container for further cooling, but when I checked it 30 minutes later it was completely hard and grainy.

I really don't know what to do!? Some recipes call for 15 minutes of stirring during cooling but that will never work for me because of the crystallization.

Am I doing anything wrong? Should the mixture boil on high heat in the beginning and then at medium heat? Should I try boiling it just a little more? Or less? Should I transfer the hot mixture after boiling to a clean pot and cover it while cooling?

I really hope some of you might have some suggestions :-)


Sincerely,

Morten

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Old 05-12-2009, 07:20 PM   #2
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Are you sure it's all getting to 240 degrees and not just the spot where the thermometer is sitting? That can be a problem with the clip-on type of candy thermometer.
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:23 AM   #3
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I think I am. I'm using a regular high-temp thermometer which does not have a clip-on. So I'm holding it myself and I'm checking the temperature several places in the mixture to ensure 240 F. However, I haven't checked if my thermometer is accuate...but I have never had any problemes with other types of candy.
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:58 AM   #4
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My experience with fudge once, that i didn't use a good sugar like Domininos - I used the store brand, After that I never had a problem again.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:58 AM   #5
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Interesting. I'm just using regular granulated sugar. I read somewhere on the web that the problem might be the cooking. Maybe I'm not dissolving the sugar crystals properly and/or boiling too fast!?
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:45 AM   #6
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There are several things that can cause crystallization...From your recipe.. Start with a low heat, stir to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved then stop stirring..Covering with a lid for a few minutes will help dissolve any crystals on the sides... try using a clip on thermometer...do not stir while the candy cooks....pour from pan and do not scrape the sides...make sure your candy has cooled to the proper temperature...use a smaller pan than the stove eye...or use a larger eye to keep the sides of the pan hot...HTH

Enjoy!
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:40 PM   #7
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Ok, I tried to repeat one of my recipes of vanilla fudge using these new techniques. Unfortunately, it all went completely wrong. This was what I did: in a pot I combined 2 cups of granulated sugar, 2/3 cup of heavy cream (last time I just used milk) and 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup. I heated it a low temperature - but the sugar never really dissolved completely, so I turned up to medium temperature and the mixture started to boil. However, crystals were still present in the mixture. I'm sure that was not the case last time I tried the recipe (however, that recipe ultimately resulted in a grainy, but semi-soft fudge). I boiled to 240 F which was done surprisingly fast (because of the heavy cream substitution?) - I washed down the sides with a pastry brush. This time the crystallization began almost immediately and suddenly it was totally grainy.

There MUST be something that I'm not aware of. So many batches and they have all failed. I mean, if the problem is just a minor one, statistically I should have had at least one batch that worked. So what am I doing totally wrong? Anybody knows?
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:22 PM   #8
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Here is an old time fudge recipe from my grandmother who was born in 1889. The one thing I learned about candy is it is adversely affected by high humidity such as on a rainy or a snowy day. I do not know why.

Easy Old Time Fudge Recipe

Mix welll 4 Tablespoons of Hershey's Cocoa powder and 2 cups of sugar. Add 1 cup of whole milk and 2 Tablespoons of salted butter. Heat to a slow rolling boil in heavy iron or heavy bottom aluminum pan. Stir occassionally - only with a wooden spoon - until a drop of candy dripped from the spoon forms a soft ball that holds its shape in ice cold water. Note: If it does not hold its shape when you pick up the ball, the candy is not cooked enough.

Timing is everything. If the candy gets too stiff it will set up like concrete in the pan. It is still yummy, but there is no graceful way to remove it from te pan. .

Once the candy has reached the soft ball stage. Remove if from the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set the pan in the sink in COLD water. Do not beat the candy until you can hold the cooled pan in the palm of your hand comfortably.

This is not a traditional recipe.

Beat the candy by hand with a metal spoon, When it starts to thicken it will be ready to put out within 5 minutes. Then when it first begins to get stiff quickly dump it on a piece of waxed paper and scrape the pan sides. Allow to finish cooling. Leave a sharp knife near by.

This candy is eaten by the hunk. Cut off what you want. It is good to the last crumb.

I asked once if it could be poured in a sheet like the candy in the store. Grandma said she supposed it could, but, she'd never made it that way and neither did her mother (born 1853) or her aunts. Grandmother learned from her mother, and she made Peanut Butter Fudge too.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:44 PM   #9
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One time try to make a batch without brushing the sides of the pan. Water can make the fudge grainy.
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:17 PM   #10
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My fudge always turns out to be chocolate sand, so I quit making it totally from scratch. I just melt chocolate chips in sweetened condensed milk. I don't add the marshmallow fluff...
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