With the holidays approaching, fudge seemed like the perfect treat to attempt. Smooth, luscious, creamy… I knew that I’d gain 5 pounds unless I gave it all away. That is, if it turned out at all. Fudge can be rather temperamental and has a tendency to come out dry and crumbly, which is why I’ve never tried it before, but I bought the chocolate and fired up the stove.
The reasons for dry, crumbly fudge lie in the chemistry behind the recipe, but since not everyone is a chemist, here’s what it (literally) boils down to. When the hot sugary syrup cools and recrystallizes, the little sugar particles begin to find each other too quickly in the thick chocolate soup, and when they find each other, they become like best friends — stuck together at the hip. This forms large chunks instead of the tiny crystals that are desired in fudge. How to solve this problem? Use other sweeteners, like marshmallow cream or corn syrup, in addition to regular white refined sugar. There will be fewer of the little table sugar guys in there, so it’ll be harder for them to find each other and stick together, which means the fudge will turn out perfectly creamy.
Finding fudge recipes was easy enough, but finding one I wasn’t afraid to make took a little extra research. I finally settled on this one, mostly because I didn’t have to go out and buy a candy thermometer. I followed reviewers’ suggestions and measured out the chocolate before I turned on the stove. Good thing, otherwise I’d have one big pot of hardened sugar and a separate bowl of chocolate chips! (Although I wouldn’t have minded much, seeing as I believe passing up any form of chocolate is the eighth deadly sin…) After stirring the boiling sugar for six minutes straight, I resolved to start working out my arms. They were sore, and I hadn’t even added the chocolate yet! Once it was incorporated and the fudge mixture was smooth, into the pan it went, and then into the fridge for a long, chilly night. In the morning when I opened the fridge to grab milk for my cereal, I had the hardest time reminding myself of why I shouldn’t eat an entire pan of fudge for breakfast!
I can’t believe how close I came to getting an actual sample. Missed it by “this much”. Your fudge looks wonderful – just in time for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.
Don’t worry, it got rave reviews so I’m planning on making another couple of batches for Christmas! I’m hoping to tweak the recipe some to make dark chocolate, peanut butter, and maybe even minty fudge. No diets this holiday season!