Monday, December 3, 2007

Annual Fudge Rant


I like to think of myself as a relatively accomplished person. I've had scrapbook layouts published, I taught myself how to sew, I can make ten different varieties of Christmas cookies without even batting an eye. And yet there is one goal that continues to elude my squatty-thumbed grasp.

Fudge.

I've been trying for years to duplicate my mom's Christmas fudge. It's not even a top secret recipe or anything; it's right there on the back of the jar of marshmallow fluff, the one with the insulting name of Never Fail Fudge. And I have failed it many, many times. It's boiled over or burned or failed to set and slithered off the counter top like something from a bad science fiction movie, in search of the plutonium it so desperately needs for survival. It's only in the last year or two that I've even produced something edible and even then, while the flavor is acceptable, the texture is way off.

Fudge is supposed to be smooth and melty, yielding slightly to the pressure of sticky fingers as you go for your fifth piece. Mine is coming out grainy and stiff, and it comes apart in big shaggy flakes when I try to cut it into bite-sized pieces. The most recent batch (this year's second) is the closest I've ever come: it's pretty smooth, but it still went all crumbly on the cutting board. (Matt doesn't mind. He throws the shards into his hot chocolate.)

I think I'm far too heavily invested into this project to give it up now. And it's slightly a matter of pride: I have a degree in chemistry, I should be able to handle fudge, right? I think that the problem is coming in when I add the chocolate chips to the butter-sugar-evaporated milk mixture. I've noticed that it tends to coagulate into a grainy lump, making it hard to incorporate with only the residual heat in the pan and the residual strength in my arm after stirring nonstop for about 20 minutes. (And I have no idea how my mom managed to make 2 or 3 double batches a night... the only thing I can figure is that by then, Mom had plenty of teenage helpers to aid with the stirring.)

On the other hand... I can not for the life of me find a 9x9 pan as called for by the recipe. I can only come up with 8x8 or smaller. So perhaps it's a conspiracy after all...

5 witty remarks on "Annual Fudge Rant"

Eran of Arcadia on 5:59 PM said...

Baking is easy
it's a kind of chemical
engineering, right?

Joni on 8:25 PM said...

It's just CHEMISTRY
and fudge involves no baking,
Smart Notre Dame Guy.

mom said...

No, Joni, Kev is right. And cheese is just eggs from a cow. It must be true, dad is always telling me that cooking is just chemical engineering. Wish I could help you beat the fudge problem.

Catherine on 7:34 PM said...

Would it be horrible and snotty of me to announce that I learned how to make delicious, correctly-textured fudge three years ago, the winter after the summer Mom and the girls and I made all that jam?

Yes. It would be mean. It would be ill-natured to mention that my fudge is tasty and has a pleasant, sliceable texture. It would also be pretty untrue since I haven't made fudge since last winter, and hey, maybe I've forgotten how since then.

So instead, all I will say is this: Mom makes good fudge. You make good chocolate-covered cherry cookies and babies. At least your thumbs are good for something.

Emily said...

Hey catherine..what about the rest of us who make good babies...or whatever?

Joni, I can make fudge...I just dont. Too much work.

 

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