Sunday, December 19, 2010

Elizabeth says it's really easy

A few weeks ago my friend Elizabeth posted on facebook that she had made some fudge, and that it came out really well. She mentioned that the fudge came from a kit, and that it was "really easy", but I've heard that story about kits before. I've tried "really easy" knitting kits from Target and still managed not to make a scarf, really easy paint-by-number kits that invariably don't come with enough paint or require the painter to have the steady hand skills of a neurosureon to fill in a numbered space three atoms wide with the brush provided, and I'm not even going to get into the kinds of disasters that men with hairy arms can have should they accidentally spill part of the "really easy" home candlemaking kit.

You name the "really easy" kit, and I can tell you that it's not only possible but also likely that I will manage to screw it up.

I kept thinking about that fudge kit, though, and the more I did the more I thought I should give it a try. After all, I like fudge, and buying fudge comes out to about the same price as buying the "really easy" fudge kit.

the famous fudge kit (1)

Not only that, but as much as I love Elizabeth and have eaten at her and Ben's house a number of times, I've never seen Elizabeth prepare actual food. I've seen her put things in the microwave, but I've never seen her prepare something from a list of ingredients. She may cook all the time when she doesn't have friends over, but in my head I have this impression that she doesn't cook, so when she said the kit was "really easy", it seemed like it probably really was really easy. I like things that are easy and, like I said, I like things that are fudge, so I bought my kit and this afternoon I popped it open and got to work.

You have to add your own butter, but everything else comes in the box:

the famous fudge kit (2)

Following the directions, the first thing I did was pour the evaporated milk, butter, and sugar into a sturdy saucepan:

butter, sugar, evaporated milk (1)

Then I stirred it until the sugar dissolved. It didn't say to do that in the instructions, just to stir once it was boiling, but I thought it might boil faster if the ingredients were evenly distributed through the pot. I don't know if that actually helped or not, but it boiled anyway:

butter, sugar, evaporated milk (2)

After it boiled for four minutes, I removed it from the heat and added the marshmallows and chocolate and stirred vigorously, as instructed:

add marshmallows

and lo and behold, my fudge suddenly looked like the fudge on the front of the box:

swirly fudge

It was shiny and swirly and smooth and glossy, and all I had to do was spread it in the shallow pan that came in the box and smooth the top, and my fudge would be perfect, just like the fudge on the box.

And that's when something happened.

I have no idea what, but somewhere between the pot and the pan my fudge's texture changed from smooth and glossy to dull and clumpy. The fudge on the box looks like liquid satiny chocolate sliced into tiny perfect squares, and my fudge?

choppy fudge

My fudge looks like an old pioneer woman's face.

It tastes fine. I just wish it was pretty.


Erin said...


Sometimes the texture/appearance changes due to the sugar crystalizing. Is consistency still smooth, or is it girtty? Some times if the sugar mixture is heated TOO long, too hot (or too cool), it will temper incorrectly and be a disaster. Additionally heat/humidity can also cause weirdness (but usually that makes it not set properly). If you have any other fudge/dessert related questions...let me know!


Jeannie said...

At least it tastes good, right? I find that the uglier things are, the better they are. :)