I’ve been on the hunt for an Old Fashioned Fudge recipe for quite some time now. I’ve tasted loads of fudge over the years and most beaten fudge recipes are grainy and not flavorful. So why do people attempt to make it? Sorry, but attempt is the key word here. So many fails have been passed off as fudge.
Well, all I seem to find is some version of what I call Cheater’s Fudge. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a perfectly wonderful recipe--quick and easy to prepare. But I wanted to go “candy thermometer” old school to see what all the fuss was about. The problem I ran across was the recipes that did involve cooked sugar couldn’t agree on the basic temperature, and WHY on earth did you have to let it cool before you beat it?
Of course, I figured it out.
The one ingredient you have to have as a maker of traditional fudge is PATIENCE. Yes, my friends, just like when make caramel you have to wait for the right moment to act. There is a valid reason for letting it cool down.
When you make fudge, the reason you have to wait to beat the mixture is all about chemistry. You know, the class you slept through in high school and college.
If you beat the fudge when it is too hot, the sugar particles will reform and attract more sugar particles to form larger particles until it cools enough to stop the process. This is one reason for the grainy, crunchiness of less than-stellar-fudge. If you wait until the mixture has cooled enough then the sugar particles will stay small, resulting in a smooth texture.
I found a recipe and then proceeded to change it up for real world usage.
Here we go:
MAG’s Decadent Fudge
3 cups sugar1 Tbls. Hershey’s cocoa powder
Large pinch of sea salt
3 Tbls. orange blossom honey
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (Baker’s), finely chopped
2 tsp. vanilla extract (Madagascar Bourbon)
4 Tbls. chilled butter, cubed
Line 8 X 8 pan with foil, spray with butter-flavored cooking spray. Set aside. In heavy sauce pan, whisk sugar, cocoa powder and salt together, and place over medium heat. Add honey and cream, stirring until smooth. Add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolved. Time for the candy thermometer! Increase heat to high, and boil mixture until it reaches the soft ball stage at 236 degrees. You can stir the mixture, but DO NOT SCRAP THE SIDES (sugar crystals and all that jazz).
Pour into glass bowl. Dot top with cubed butter and vanilla, and let cool about 45 minutes. Using a clean candy thermometer make sure the temperature is between 110-120 degrees. Using a hand mixer, beat until everything is incorporated and increase speed. Beat fudge until it loses its shiny cake batter look and turns chunky-ish, about 3-5 minutes. DO NOT OVERBEAT.
Scrap fudge into prepared pan. Press flat with hands. Score the top into 1-inch squares with pastry scrape or knife. Let cool.
Sample the fudge remaining on the beaters. Groan with delight.
Hints and suggestions:
· Sorry, Martha Stewart, but most people can’t afford Valrhona or Callebaut chocolate. They simply have Hershey’s, Nestles or Baker’s chocolate in their cabinet. I used Valrhona once in a recipe, not worth the $$.
· Martha was all hard-core about buttering parchment paper, too. Love you, Martha, but really? Aluminum foil sprayed with butter Pam works just as well!
· And not a fan of light corn syrup either when I have honey on hand. I’m a serious fan of orange blossom honey!
· And don’t hand chop the chocolate if you have a food processor, just whir it around until the largest chocolate pieces are about the size of a pea.
· Score the outside edges off first before you make the squares, then all the pieces look good!