So, now confident in my fudge-making skills, I decided to try a whole new flavor: pina colada. Now, based on the drink recipes I've seen, a classic pina colada is about equal parts pineapple and coconut, plus rum. I'm not sure how alcohol will affect fudge, so I decided to replace it with molasses. Why not? Rum is derived from molasses, molasses is an invert sugar, and that helps retard crystals, right? Nevermind the fact that rum and molasses don't actually taste alike.
Get ready to examine my failed logic. I went with 2 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon corn syrup, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut and 3 tablespoons butter. I decided on this ratio, because the water part of the pineapple juice is supposed to evaporate, right? And I decided not to toast the coconut, because it was fresh. For the record, if I ever decide to work with fresh coconut again, it won't be for a long time. I picked up more battle scars from that then I did in my butchery class in school.
Process was simple: it all went in the pot, stirred slowly until it came to a boil, slapped on the lid for 3 minutes, then removed the lid and added the thermometer. I might have let it come to 231F instead of the 229F that I was shooting for (remember elevation, kids). Cooling down didn't go so well. I put the pan in an ice water bath, of course. My thermometer refused to sit inside the concoction unless I put it at an angle, and when I did that, it all cooled unevenly. I eventually got sick of inaccurate readings, hoped that it was somewhere around 115F, and pulled it out and started stirring. After a while, it started to get light in color, so I poured it into my prepared pan and let it sit.
Now, with the peach fudge, it started to set up within the hour. With this stuff, it still didn't look like it was ever going to set up 3 or 4 hours later when I went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, I was surprised to find that it did indeed set up, even though it still looked a but wet. The texture was really grainy, and the flavor was all pineapple, with a tiny hint of caramel. The texture that the coconut gave it didn't work for me at all.
I am currently reformulating my plan. Next time I plan to go with 1/2 cup coconut cream (if I can find it) and 1/2 cup pineapple puree. No molasses, but I might add some rum flavoring. I will keep the corn syrup in there, but I will probably also bring butter up to 4 tablespoons. Still, I am heartened by the fact that it did set up. Turns out when you go at it with the correct understanding, it is just a little bit less of a gamble than you'd think.