I was in Boston the last two weeks, visiting Dan. Unfortunately, while I'm done with school already, he's still got weeks and weeks of classes and final labs left, and a thesis project to work on. Which meant, of course, that I was left to my own devises at home all day while he did complicated engineering stuff at school. I was bored. A lot. Like, really really bored. So I made fudge.
As it turns out, fudge is not exactly a complicated thing to make, but it's also not easy to make good fudge. The ingredients are simple, and the steps are straightforward, but a lot of monitoring and stirring and temperature-measuring are required.
I don't have a candy thermometer. Dan definitely doesn't have a candy thermometer. But you need one to make fudge. I was supposed to let the chocolate boil to 234 degrees, and then let it cool down to 130 degrees before adding the last bit of butter. Obviously I had no way of measuring that so I just stuck my hand above the saucepan and said "Yup, that feels pretty hot," then turned the heat down for 10 minutes and called it day. Sometimes I think I should have called this blog "Just Winging It In the Kitchen."
The fudge turned out to be rich and intensely chocolate-y, but...grainy. That's the only way to describe it. It's like the sugar didn't quite dissolve, and you could still feel all the individual grains of that undissolved sugar. Not exactly unpleasant, but definitely not what you'd expect in fudge. After talking to Dan's mother (who is my baking idol), I've come to the conclusion that this graininess is probably the result of not having cooked the ingredients to the right temperature. Apparently my super scientific hand-over-pan method was inadequate. This can only mean one thing: time to buy a candy thermometer.