My term in office as the Village Idiot of the baking world continues. My good friend Ruth (candymaker extrordinaire) was so kind as to chastise me in my comments for yesterday's post, and tell me to start from scratch and learn the rules before trying to branch out. And did I listen? No, of course not! No, I sallied forth in the belief that science would guide my path!
Science is a cruel mistress.
You may recall my mention of surprise yesterday, that the recipe that was to become my bane had a lower fat content. I also noted the excess water in that recipe. So I decided to start with Alton's recipe again, with a few modifications. Instead of unsweetened baking chocolate, I went with white baking chocolate. Instead of half and half, I opted for a higher amount of butter (a total of about 5 tablespoons), plus one cup of strawberries and the juice of a lime (about two tablespoons). It still looked a little dry, so I added two ounces of whole milk. I brought it to a boil, stirring all the while, then slapped on a lid and let it boil away for 3 minutes, as per Alton's instructions. Then I removed the lid, slapped on a candy thermometer, and waited for it to come up to temp. Now, I have been finding some fudge recipes that would have you go to 238F, instead of 234F. In fact, even Emeril made fudge last night, taking the temp to 238F. I'm at about 4500ft above sea level, which means I need to boil 9 degrees lower. So I let it come to 229F, pulled it from the heat, and put the pan in a bowl of cold water, as per Ruth's suggestion at the Utah Bakers Dozen message board.
It cooled to temp in about 10 minutes, much more quickly than my first attempt (the chocolate one that worked, not the failed strawberry one), which took a good 45 minutes. I began to stir, as one does with fudge. It would not lose its gloss. In fact, it stayed pretty liquid, as did my previous nightmare concoction. Hey, at least it wasn't burned this time, right? So this is when I decided it was time to try and save it, like a man who can't swim flailing around in the ocean hoping that he can keep his head above water. I broke out the hand mixer. It did lighten the color a bit, and cause it to loose a little of the shine, but it still would not set up. So I took a couple more ounced of white chocolate, melted it in the microwave (10 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating, until it's smooth and melted) and added it in. It did seem to add more body, and it lost a little more of that gloss, and it certainly lightened the color a bit. But it still didn't look like I thought it should. Still, I poured it into the pan and let it cool overnight.
This morning, I checked it out. It did not set up, though it looked like it at first. It was also horrendously sweet, at least for me. But it was pretty thick, and about the same sweetness as commercial frostings, so I'm thinking I may bake a cake and use it as a filling. My quest for strawberry fudge continues, but it looks like I'm going to have to start from scratch and learn a good vanilla fudge recipe. If anyone has one that they trust, I wouldn't mind a copy.