However, their loss is due more to the fact that I produced well over a hundred dozen goodies in the past 3 weeks than it is to anything else. Maybe Santa will drop some new toys in my stocking so I will be ready for next year--I was
Fudge is one of those confections that has been made for decades and decades with nary a candy thermometer in sight. I figured if the old gals in their gingham aprons can do it, so can I. Guess what? I can and did, because there's more than one way to skin a cat (where did that saying originate, anyways???).
How, you say, did I manage? Well, with a cup of cold water and spoon. I tell you, I've been all kinds of high tech this season with paper tubes and chop sticks.
|cold water, really hard|
to get this stuff...
How does this process work? Well, candy making involves different stages of caramelization of sugar.
Thread ball (spun sugar) : 230-233
Soft ball (fudge): 234-240
Firm ball (tee hee, yes please): 244-248
Hard ball (divinity, taffies): 250-265
Soft crack (butterscotches): 270-290
Hard crack (don't do drugs; toffees, brittles): 300-310
If you buy a candy thermometer (*NOT a meat thermometer), it will have a glass bulb that is protected by a plastic sleeve that you remove when cooking. The sleeve has all this information on it, by the way. Unless you are an idiot like me, you're thermometer will last you a long long time....unless you, ahem, leave it in the sink and then smash it with a pot.
First, let's gather up the ingredients and equipment.
You'll need an 8x8 pan, sprayed and lined and sprayed again. I prefer to line my pans for hot confections with heavy duty aluminum foil. You also need a heavy large sauce pot and either a heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon. Have either your candy thermometer or cup of water and spoon at the ready by the stove top.
In the sauce pot, combine
3 tbs butter
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of mini marshmallows
12 oz of peanut butter (not the natural stuff this time and you can use smooth or crunchy depending on your preference)....if you don't have a kitchen scale (and you really really really should), it's *about* 1 1/4 cups of peanut butter
|boil, boil, toil and|
As the mixture boils, you will start to see the bubbles become bigger, fatter and slower to pop than they were at the beginning of the process. Feel free to begin testing the confection by dropping a bit of it into the cool water.
|there are little drops in there|
if you look REAL hard...
Does it drop to the bottom in a solid lump? It's ready to remove from the heat.
If you are using the thermometer, it should read 234 degrees. Remove the pan from the heat.
Now stir in the marshmallows and peanut butter. Stir until it is all completely incorporated and then scrape it all into the prepared pan.
You made fudge. You rock.
Cover the pan with a bit of plastic wrap and chill it until it is cooled and firm.
When you are ready to cut it, pull the foil lining up and out of the pan and use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 inch squares. (You can trim the sides off to
Chocolate fudge, pumpkin fudge, white chocolate fudge....they all work off of this basic process so try them all. If you don't get it right the first time, put the stuff on top of some ice cream, declare yourself victorious indeed for trying and give it another go.