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This is the recipe I'm trying to follow, but from what I've seen it's a fairly standard fudge recipe. I watched a few videos online and I felt like I had the general idea of what to do.

The fudge came out pretty good except there are a few very small, very crunchy 'bits' mixed in. It's not that the entire thing is 'grainy', the texture is pretty much what I'd expect...it's just a few small crunchy bits mixed it.

I want to try the recipe again, but I don't know what I could have done wrong. So I'm afraid I'll repeat the mistake. Can anyone speculate what might have gone wrong? I've come up with the following....

The Mixture Wasn't Smooth

When I first mixed the milk, sugar and cocoa, even after a fair bit of stirring I could see small clumps of sugar. Could this has been the cause? Do I just need to stir it more?

I Burned It

After bringing the fudge to boil, I reduced the heat to simmer. The temperature was 212F and I was aiming for 238F. I have a gas stove, but I struggled to get the flame set correctly....it would either boil or stop simmering. After 10 minutes or so of simmering it was still at 212F. I ended up with a 'very light boil' and the temperature started rising again. In total, I probably spent 30 minutes heating it. Right before it hit 238, I thought I smelled 'burning'. I turned off the heat, moved it, and went along as normal.

Or possibly something else?

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1 Answer 1

The most likely culprit is how well you beat the mixture just before pouring it into the pan. I really like Alton Brown's explanation of the fudge-making process. What you're trying to do is form very small sugar crystals which provide fudge with its fine texture. Those crunchy bits you describe are larger crystal formations which can happen if you have a "seed crystal" remaining in the fudge as it sets. The purpose of stirring the fudge very well before pouring it into the pan is to deliberately form small crystals and break up any larger ones. If you didn't really thoroughly stir even just a few small patches of the fudge, some seed crystals may have developed there.

The clumps you describe in the initial mixture should have dissolved, but working them out would make sure that everything is evenly distributed. You can add the butter to the original mixture for the same reason instead of waiting until the end like the linked recipe recommends. A little bit of corn syrup will help control crystals too. Lastly, stir the fudge like crazy and scrape down as much of the work bowl as you can while you go. If your arms don't feel like they're about to fall off afterwards, you probably should have mixed it more.

Regarding temperature, remember that when simmering your fudge will carry over a couple degrees even after you turn off the heat. So you can kill the burner when your thermometer reaches 235F and monitor until you hit the target temp of 238F.

Quite honestly, fudge-making is a pretty sensitive process, so don't be too broken up if it takes a few tries and a lot of attention to detail before it's perfect.

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The distinction here, between OP's recipe and AB's missive, is when to beat the stuff like mad! Please correct me if I'm wrong: Fudge is sugarwork, so perturbing when initially cooling (just after turning off heat) is bad (encourages undesirable big crystals). AB seems to say: let cool uncovered from 238F to 110F, THEN beat like crazy. Right? –  hoc_age Jul 2 at 11:36

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