The Perfect Fudge
Since my grandfather (Gran to me) passed the day before Thanksgiving three years ago, I have had the honor of being the family fudge maker. My wife does cheesecake, my mom does divinity, Cliff (step-father) is the official taster.
Making fudge is simplicity itself, however, like most art forms, the devil is in the details. Temperature control is critical. Get an electric thermometer with two alarms. That way you don’t have to stand over the pot for more than 20 minutes or so while it cooks down.
OK, you need:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 block baking chocolate (unsweetened please)
- 2/3 cup half and half
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup butter (cut into sections)
Throw everything but the vanilla and butter into a pot and put on medium/low heat. Now, here’s the first real decision. Do you want a pure chocolate fudge or a caramelly, chocolate fudge. If you shred the block of chocolate and mix thoroughly BEFORE turning on the heat, you will get a pure chocolate fudge. If you drop in the sugar, then pour everything on top, then the whole block of chocolate and crank it up to medium, you will get a caramel formed from some of the sugar.
Next, heat until everything is melted and dissolved. Move to medium heat (if you haven’t already). Put in the thermometer with an alarm set for 238 degrees F. Stir occasionally. Don’t you hate that? What does occasionally mean? I give it a good couple of spins every 4-5 minutes. Be sure to move the fudge that’s around the thermometer.
When that alarm goes off, REMOVE the pot from the heat. Drop in the butter and the vanilla. WALK AWAY!!!! Do not do anything (including stirring the butter and vanilla) until the temperature alarm hits 110 degrees.
While the fudge is cooling, consider your placement of the hot fudge. A 9×9 cake pan lined with foil and heavily buttered works very well. Also, get a wooden spoon. Unless you have a 1/4 diameter Titanium Spoon, use wood.
Now, when the fudge gets to 110, stir for all you’re worth. The next critical decision is upon you. The longer you stir, the softer the fudge will be. You can go from rock hard to frosting (ie. never gets hard) in almost no time. Get under a good light and watch the fudge, when it starts to lose the oily sheen that it started with, it is fudge and will set. If it goes completely matte, then you have reached frosting. So pick a point in the middle and pour into the pan. Score the fudge after a few minutes so you can break it apart easier.
If it hasn’t set in 15-20 minutes, it never will. Bake a cake and apply gingerly.