The Woes of Gritty Fudge
I love fudge! My favorite is my chocolate fudge. It is so smooth and creamy. When my customers taste my fudge, they always ask how do I keep my fudge from getting gritty. Gritty fudge is the worst! You put all of this work into your fudge then you taste it all the while feeling this hopeful feeling that this will be the best fudge you ever tasted, but then...... there is a gritty feeling in your mouth. Oh, the disappointment!
The thing is that fudge does not "get" gritty. This happens during the cooking process and not when the fudge is cooling. The grit is from sugar that hardens during the cooking process. I found this out when I was trying to make peanut butter fudge. I went through five recipes and I began to hate peanut butter fudge, but I persisted! I was bound and determined to get it right since I was getting a lot of requests for peanut butter fudge.
After my five failures, I took a step back to see why was this fudge getting gritty when I had made several other flavors and they were not gritty. Once I took this step back, I realized that I was stirring it too much allowing the sugar to crystallize. This is also a common problem when trying to make homemade caramel. You may ask how does sugar crystallize? When you stir the mixture you are decreasing the temperature of the sugar, milk, and butter solution, and you may get some sugar on the sides of the pot. This also allows the temperature of the sugar to decrease allowing it to harden. When the temperature cools down, the sugar molecules harden, thus forming the grit you may taste. You need to be patient and allow the sugar to melt, but also giving it a soft stir from time to time until it reaching boiling. Then you will need to stir constantly so you do not burn the solution... and that can be another issue all together.
Fudge can be temperamental and there are several things that can go wrong when you make fudge, which I will go over in future posts. The biggest thing that you need to have patience. Low and slow (low heat and allow for plenty of time) is my motto with fudge. Fudge can be a decedent, smooth, and creamy dessert if one has the time and patience.