Fudge can be a tricky dessert to make properly, especially if it’s your first attempt. There are quite a few pitfalls bakers can fall into when trying to make the perfect fudge, and one of these is overcooking.
The following will detail what actually happens when you overcook your fudge, what happens when you undercook it, as well as some handy tips in making sure your perfect batch of fudge is just around the corner.
What Happens When You Overcook Fudge?
One of the ways in which your fudge can miss the mark is if it’s been overcooked. The time you leave your fudge cooking is directly related to how firm it’s going to end up being.
If you spend too little time cooking, all the water won’t have evaporated, and the fudge will be too soft. If you spend too much time cooking, the fudge won’t contain the required amount of water. This will cause its texture to be dry and crumbly.
Make sure you’re paying close attention to the suggested timings in the recipe you’re using. It might take a while to get the timings exactly right, but you should be all set after a couple of batches.
You might notice that the recipe you’re using doesn’t actually specify timings when it comes to boiling the fudge. This is because the fudge’s texture ultimately comes down to a variety of factors. These include your heat height, and how your particular pan conducts heat. Just know this: it tends to take a while.
How Do You Know If You’re Cooking Fudge At The Right Temperature?
One of the most well known temperature tests for cooking fudge is the soft ball test. While it’s a fairly simple test that doesn’t always get you the result you’re looking for, the soft ball temperature test is worth trying in most cases, especially if you’re not all that familiar with cooking fudge.
All that’s involved in the soft ball fudge temperature test is dropping a small amount of your boiling mixture into a half filled glass of water. The theory is that if the fudge remains a solid ball that you can then take out of the glass and hold between your fingers without it breaking, the fudge is probably ready.
It’s a pretty good way of telling when your fudge is done, but that’s about its only benefit. The soft ball test won’t help you to recreate fudge of the same texture next time you are cooking it, and it also doesn’t give you much indication of what the fudge will be like once it’s cooled down.
You can only really do this using a candy thermometer (also known as a sugar thermometer, this device is used to measure the temperature of cooking sugar).
What Do You Do Once The Fudge Is Cooked?
Once you’re confident your fudge has reached the right temperature and you’ve removed it from heat, your next step is beating the fudge. Beating essentially stretches the sugar crystals, stopping them from reforming. This is what will give your fudge a far smoother texture.
Beating the fudge is probably the most important step of the process. Don’t underestimate just how long you’ll need to beat it for, nor just how hard you’ll have to beat it. Pay attention to both the color of the fudge and the texture while you’re beating it.
If the fudge has lost its sheen and appears to be thickening, that’s the sign that your fudge is done. Be sure not to miss this development, as you could be risking ruining the batch entirely.
What Do You Do If Your Fudge Is Grainy?
Grainy fudge isn’t quite the disaster you might think it would be. Simply return the fudge back to the pan, add some water and some cream, melt the fudge back into a liquid, and then boil once more to the right temperature.
Make sure you’re heating slowly to begin with. The mixture should have gone completely smooth before you bring it to the boil.
If your fudge has gone grainy, it can be a nightmare not knowing what went wrong. The most common cause of grainy fudge is that you hadn’t dissolved all of the sugar before boiling the mixture.
It’s also possible that there simply wasn’t enough fluid for the sugar to dissolve in, or it could be that you didn’t beat the fudge hard enough or for long enough
Tips For Making Fudge
The following is a list of tips that should help you at various stages throughout the fudge making process.
- Before starting a batch of fudge, be sure to test your candy thermometer in boiling water. If it doesn’t register 212 Fahrenheit, then your candy thermometer is likely faulty, and you’ll need to buy a new one. It’s very easy to overcook your fudge if your candy thermometer isn’t as precise as it should be.
- When making a lighter fudge that doesn’t contain any chocolate, you might be concerned by the fudge being a darker, brownish color- but this is just the caramelized sugar crystals. The fudge should go on to have both a mellow flavor and a silky smooth texture.
- When the sugar has all dissolved and you’ve brought the mixture to a boil, you might be tempted to stir it. Don’t do this, as it will cause the sugar to crystallize, which will give your fudge an unpleasant gritty texture.
- If you’re using a thin pot, it’s more likely to distribute heat unevenly. This increases the chances of your sugars burning, which will completely ruin your fudge. Be sure to invest in a stainless steel, heavy-bottomed pot if you’re planning on cooking fudge.
When you overcook fudge, it won’t contain the right amount of water, and it’ll go dry and crumbly. We hope this article will assist you the next time you attempt to cook fudge. It’s really not that hard- after a couple of tries.