Learning to Cook: Candy/Fudge

So, usually my lessons are on Sundays – that’s the easiest day for me to cook and photograph, but this weekend is going to be a little busy. Therefore I’m showing you something I made last month! And I’m going to count this as an extra credit lesson because 1.) it wasn’t on my original list, and 2.) I made it over the holidays before my resolution officially began. In any case, I ran across this recipe for fudge that I knew Chris would love, so I wanted to give it a try. Making candy is actually kind of hard! And sort of intimidating. I did a little research before I got started, and I read that making fudge requires precision and exact timing, so already I knew this would be a challenge for me. I have a really hard time with the timing of everything in the kitchen because I get distracted so easily while reading a recipe. I’m all, “step 5, pour the… ooo look, a shiny thing!” And there are a lot of shiny things in the kitchen.

Where was I?

Oh yes, timing. I bought an inexpensive candy thermometer (I don’t see myself making candy very frequently) so I could bring the ingredients exactly to the temperature of the soft ball stage, which incidentally has nothing to do with sports. I was terrified not only of passing up the correct temperature, but also of burning myself. Amazingly enough I didn’t! And I just watched that thermometer until the mercury rose to the “soft ball stage” line and then followed the next steps.

Here’s where I ran into an issue. When I added the vanilla, butter and flour, the recipe didn’t explain what to do with it. Stir it until smooth? Whisk it quickly? If you look at the original recipe it just reads, “Remove from the heat and add butter, vanilla extract and flour.  Pour into a 9×13-inch pan and let sit for 20 minutes.” The flour immediately lumped up, and in my research I had read that if you stir at the wrong phase you can ruin the fudge, so I wasn’t sure what to do! I decided to just whisk the lumps as much as I could because I didn’t think they’d work themselves out, and then I continued the recipe. (Note that I added this step to the recipe below.) It was very awkward scraping the fudge out of the pan and into the stand mixing bowl and I was only able to scrape it in chunks, but it did eventually whip up into a ball (which wouldn’t have been possible without my new stand mixer).

  • What I learned: Candy really does require precision! And I learned about the soft ball stage of candy.
  • What went well: I had all of my ingredients ready to go before I started. This helped tremendously with the timing of everything. And I didn’t burn myself!
  • What I can do better next time: When it was time to press the fudge into the 8×8 pan, I wasn’t sure what to press it with. I scrambled around looking for something – I should have been more prepared. I ended up using the bottom of my largest measuring cup, which worked fine.

Chris and I thought the fudge was really good, although it didn’t taste exactly like cookie dough. I think I got the texture right though! Lesson complete.

Cookie Dough Fudge
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • ¾ cups dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
  1. In a 4-quart pot, combine sugars, heavy cream, milk, corn syrup and salt. Insert a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, to 242 F. Remove from the heat and add butter, vanilla extract and flour. Whisk together until smooth. Pour into a 9x13-inch pan and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Coat an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray, wipe out excess oil with a napkin. Scrape the hardened candy syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until the fudge comes together into a ball. Scrape fudge into the prepared 8x8 pan and press into a flat layer. Add chocolate chips and press into the fudge.
  3. Let sit at room temperature to crystallize, do not put into the fridge as it will disrupt the natural crystallization process. Once the fudge is cooled and the chocolate chips are set, place in the fridge for 1 hour (this will make the fudge easy to cut). Cut into 1-inch pieces and serve!


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