Fudge Failure

I have what you could call a “love/hate” relationship with chocolate fudge. Actually it is with homemade candies in general, but let’s leave that discussion for another day.
Chocolate fudge, it really doesn’t sound all that complicated. Mix up some chocolate, sugar, cream, butter, etc. boil it down, beat it up, chill it and you are ready to indulge. Ha! If only it were that simple.

Chocolate fudge
All it takes to make chocolate fudge! Well at least ingredients wise…
Chocolate fudge
Throw everything it the pot.

 

A candy thermometer, definitely a must when making fudge!

 

It seems fool proof but there are so many ways you can manage to screw it up. Temperature is key – if it is a degree too cold, you end up with chocolate soup and if it is a degree too hot, you end up with a chocolate rock (this I can say from experience). And then there is the beating process to consider, this is crucial! Your arm will feel like it is about to fall off, but if you don’t keep going until it is adequately thickened, it will be too gooey to actually cut into squares (this I can ALSO say from experience). After all that, hopefully I haven’t scared you away from trying to make it!
I have made the stuff more times than I can count, but only twice in recent memory has it actually turned out the way I wanted it to (probably two of the most satisfying moments in my entire lifetime!!!). Unfortunately that was not the case today.
Chocolate fudge
Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.

 

I tried a new recipe from All Recipes, mainly because it had only 5 ingredients and the directions were super straight forward. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with the recipe itself, it was my lack of execution that led to my demise. Everything was going so well too! I used my candy thermometer to cook the mixture to the soft ball stage. I even checked to make sure that it formed soft balls when dropped in cold water. So at least I know I was right up to that point. After removing it from the heat, I added the butter and began to beat the crap out of it. Honestly, I was beating that wooden spoon so hard that my right hand is now covered in blisters! I was so into it, I had this athletic stance and everything to optimize my power (anyone who knows me is aware of my lack of upper body strength). Good thing I did this before my shower because I worked up a sweat just stirring a stupid batch of fudge! I looked at the clock and realized that I had spent over half an hour taking my anger out on that evil pile of chocolate goo. EVIL! By that point I figured it had to be good enough so I scraped it into a greased pan and popped it in the fridge to chill.
Chocolate fudge
Turn it down to a simmer and cook until the mixture reaches 240 F (soft ball stage).
Chocolate fudge
Not quite there yet.
Chocolate fudge
We are good to go, remove it from the heat!
Chocolate fudge
Add the butter (I also placed the bowl in an ice bath to help cool it down).
Chocolate fudge
Before beating (and also pre-blisters).
Chocolate fudge
It was significantly lighter, and my hands were bleeding, so I decided to stop…bad choice. It had yet to lose its sheen so it wasn’t ready yet, dispite what my arm was telling me!
I made my way off to school, forgot about it, and carried on with the rest of my day. Back home, I prepared myself and opened up the fridge. You have to understand that I have become accustomed to “fudge failure”, considering my success rate is probably hovering under the 10 percent mark. I poked at it timidly and my heart sank. Damn it! Why do the fudge gods hate me so much???
How’d you manage that?…oh, just making fudge!

 

It was still too soft so I decided to improvise. I scooped it out, rolled it up and coated the balls in cocoa. Chocolate fudge became chocolate fudge truffles!
Chocolate fudge
Maybe I am just not meant to made fudge. If I cook it to the right temperature, I fail to beat it enough. Yet when I beat it enough, it doesn’t matter anyways because I cooked it to the wrong temperature! Although the fudge may have won this battle, next time I will be back with a vengeance. And also with a nice, strong, cute boy to help me beat it!

OLD FASHIONED CHOCOLATE FUDGE (from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

    1. Grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan. Set aside.

 

  • Combine sugar, cocoa and milk in a medium saucepan. Stir to blend, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer. Do not stir again.

 

 

  • Place candy thermometer in pan and cook until temperature reaches 238 degrees F(114 degrees C) (on my thermometer the soft ball stage was marked at 240 so I cooked it until that point, at 238 the “soft balls” were not forming yet). If you are not using a thermometer, then cook until a drop of this mixture in a cup of cold water forms a soft ball. Feel the ball with your fingers to make sure it is the right consistency. It should flatten when pressed between your fingers.
  • Remove from heat. Add butter or margarine and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until the fudge loses its sheen (which mine apparently did not). Do not under beat (this is where I went wrong guys, clearly they added this comment to the recipe for a reason! So beat it until you cannot beat anymore, and then still keep beating!!!).
  • Pour into prepared pan and let cool. Cut into about 60 squares.

6 thoughts on “Fudge Failure

  • October 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm
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    OK, I have to admit that you surprised me with this. I’ve made fudge for years, but I’ve never had trouble with it like this. 🙁 Come to think of it though, I’ve never beaten it. I need to look up my fudge recipes and see what exactly I’m doing differently.

    I wonder if it’s just a different kind of fudge preference? I’m guessing yours is fancier, but I’m not sure what the difference would be. I’ll be back to comment more if I figure it out.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm
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    To answer your question, recipes that involve beating (like this one) are definitely the traditional/old fashioned way to do it. More simplified recipes include ingredients like condensed milk and marshmallow fluff and chocolate chips. They set up easily and take about half the amount of time to make. But there is something so much more satisfying about making it 100% from scratch with the most basic ingredients…if you can get it to turn out which doesn’t happen quite as often as I would like!

    Reply
  • October 8, 2011 at 4:19 am
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    I bet that’s it. I haven’t made it in a couple years, because I don’t use those ingredients any more. Apparently, I am going to be challenged next time. Is there a reason why you can’t use a mixer for it?

    Reply
  • October 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm
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    Well I would…if I had one! I think the blister on my thumb is telling me that may be a worthwhile investment!

    Reply
  • November 27, 2011 at 10:33 am
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    Ouch, that looks painful. I’ve been meaning to try making fudge, but now I’m scared 😀 Also, I don’t have a candy thermometer!

    Reply
  • January 28, 2018 at 4:55 pm
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    After adding the butter and vanilla, you need to let it cool to 110 degrees before starting to beat it. Also, cooling in the fridge will cause some crystalization in the mix, giving a grainy texture.
    As this is quite an old article, I’m assuming that you may have learned this by now, but wanted to put it in writing for anyone else who may be reading here in the future.

    Reply

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