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Chocolate Fudge


A Patric
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Hi All,

I have a quick question for all of you confectioners out there. I want to make some chocolate fudge.

I understand that not melting every sugar crystal, or introducing sugar crystals after the fudge begins to cool can cause graininess. With this as context, here is my question:

Wybauw has a chocolate fudge recipe that calls for dark chocolate. He has you put the chocolate in the pan with all the other ingredients before they reach soft ball.

I feel that this will result, due to the boiling and relatively high temp, in too much of a reduction of the chocolate volatiles. I compared this to Greweling's recipe. Greweling calls for chocolate to be added after the mixture has reached soft ball and started to cool, I thought that I might try that, but then I noticed that Greweling calls for chocolate liquor, and so I wondered if perhaps the unmelted crystals of sugar in the dark chocolate could cause graininess if added when the mixture is starting to cool, which would explain both why Wybauw would call for the chocolate to be added earlier, and why Greweling would call for chocolate liquor to be added later as opposed to dark chocolate.

Any thoughts? I'd rather use my 70% dark chocolate than chocolate liquor simply for production reasons, and I also want to maintain as many of the volatiles as possible while not causing myself issues with graininess.

How have you solved this problem? Is the graininess issue even a problem, or am I inventing it?

Thanks in advance!

Alan

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Hi All,

I have a quick question for all of you confectioners out there.  I want to make some chocolate fudge.

I understand that not melting every sugar crystal, or introducing sugar crystals after the fudge begins to cool can cause graininess.  With this as context, here is my question:

Wybauw has a chocolate fudge recipe that calls for dark chocolate.  He has you put the chocolate in the pan with all the other ingredients before they reach soft ball. 

I feel that this will result, due to the boiling and relatively high temp, in too much of a reduction of the chocolate volatiles.  I compared this to Greweling's recipe.  Greweling calls for chocolate to be added after the mixture has reached soft ball and started to cool, I thought that I might try that, but then I noticed that Greweling calls for chocolate liquor, and so I wondered if perhaps the unmelted crystals of sugar in the dark chocolate could cause graininess if added when the mixture is starting to cool, which would explain both why Wybauw would call for the chocolate to be added earlier, and why Greweling would call for chocolate liquor to be added later as opposed to dark chocolate.

Any thoughts?  I'd rather use my 70% dark chocolate than chocolate liquor simply for production reasons, and I also want to maintain as many of the volatiles as possible while not causing myself issues with graininess. 

How have you solved this problem?  Is the graininess issue even a problem, or am I inventing it?

Thanks in advance!

Alan

Alan,

The sugar in conched chocolate is no longer in a large crystalline form - it becomes amorphous during the conching process. So it shouldn't cause any problem introducing seed crystal to the fudge.

I think you could safely add dark chocolate in place of the chocolate liquor with no concerns of graininess.

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It's more a matter of taste. If you cook the chocolate with the sugar solution, the chocolate will take on a more cooked flavor. I like to add melted chocolate while I am stirring the cooled sugar solution. This way, the chocolate actually helps seed the mixture and you don't have to stir as long. The fine particles of sugar cause the fudge to grain nicely. This won't happen if you use straight liquor. You need the sugar in the chocolate to make it grain.

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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Alan,

The sugar in conched chocolate is no longer in a large crystalline form - it becomes amorphous during the conching process.  So it shouldn't cause any problem introducing seed crystal to the fudge.

I think you could safely add dark chocolate in place of the chocolate liquor with no concerns of graininess.

Kerry,

I'll try it out tonight and report back.

As for sugar in refined/conched chocolate, I think that there is still some debate as to how much of the sugar remains amorphous and how much recrystallizes, but from what I have read, all of this depends upon the type of machinery used, the relative humidity of the air in the refining room, and conching temperatures. Based upon Beckett's book, it also seems as though only 30-90% of the sugar becomes amorphous, and so there will apparently always be some crystallized sucrose.

I'm not sure what impact my refining/conching processes have on sugar in terms of conversion to amorphous forms, but as I'm not using a roll refiner, it might be considerably less.

Still, I can think of other reasons why finished chocolate might not cause problems, such as the fact that the sugar particles are coated with cocoa butter and might not serve well as seed for further sugar crystallization. This is just a guess though.

I think the thing that really got me is the fact that Greweling was calling for chocolate liquor, which is kind of a weird ingredient when most confectioners would have dark chocolate, but may not have chocolate liquor, so I thought that he must have had some very good reason for it.

Alan

Edited by A Patric (log)
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a word of caution - I made a chocolate fudge a couple of months ago, though for some reason I didn't look for a specific recipe but instead decided just to adapt a vanilla fudge recipe by adding 70% to the cooled fudge mixture. I obviously did something wrong as I then ended up with fat (probably the cocoa butter) leaching from the mixture. At this point I was in a bit of a panic so I tried to rescue the fudge by adding cocoa powder (thinking to absorb the moisture). I ended up with probably the best tasting chocolate fudge I've ever had but annoyingly I don't know the weights to recreate!

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Well, it didn't turn out well.

I used Wybauw's recipe, except that instead of adding the chocolate early on I waited until the mixture hit soft ball, and then adden the chocolate with everything still on the burner and quickly stirred until it was incorporated. I then removed the fudge and let it rest for the 5 minutes as is called for, and finally stirred everything. It turned out quite dry.

Does this sound like I went past soft ball (i.e. thermometer needs calibration), or does this sound like a sugar crystal issue?

I would try Greweling's except that it calls for fondant which is not readily available, and I'm not quite in the mood to try making that too.

Could it be that by adding the chocolate, with the extra sugar, and therefore increasing the sugar solids of the mixture, that it quickly jumped up beyond soft ball?

You can probably tell that I'm no candy maker. :wink:

Alan

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Well, it didn't turn out well. 

I used Wybauw's recipe, except that instead of adding the chocolate early on I waited until the mixture hit soft ball, and then adden the chocolate with everything still on the burner and quickly stirred until it was incorporated.  I then removed the fudge and let it rest for the 5 minutes as is called for, and finally stirred everything.  It turned out quite dry. 

Does this sound like I went past soft ball (i.e. thermometer needs calibration), or does this sound like a sugar crystal issue?

I would try Greweling's except that it calls for fondant which is not readily available, and I'm not quite in the mood to try making that too.

Could it be that by adding the chocolate, with the extra sugar, and therefore increasing the sugar solids of the mixture, that it quickly jumped up beyond soft ball? 

You can probably tell that I'm no candy maker.  :wink:

Alan

It is hard to say without knowing your thermometer. Did you test it in boiling water to check the boiling point? I'm guessing you are pretty much sea-level. Whenever I do chocolate fudge, I cook it about 2 degrees under soft ball. The chocolate tends to dry out the mixture. Also, 5 minutes isn't enough time for the syrup to cool. Let it cool undisturbed until it reaches about 100 degrees before stirring. If you stir it while hot, you will form large sugar crystals instead of the finer ones you will get when you let it cool more.

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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It is hard to say without knowing your thermometer.  Did you test it in boiling water to check the boiling point?  I'm guessing you are pretty much sea-level.  Whenever I do chocolate fudge, I cook it about 2 degrees under soft ball.  The chocolate tends to dry out the mixture.  Also, 5 minutes isn't enough time for the syrup to cool.  Let it cool undisturbed until it reaches about 100 degrees before stirring.  If you stir it while hot, you will form large sugar crystals instead of the finer ones you will get when you let it cool more.

Thanks for the advice. I don't know why Wybauw says "5 minutes." I looked at Grewelings book and he definitely says cool until the mixture hits 120 F and then agitate. That is certainly much clearer.

I'm going to try the Greweling method, only without the fondant. On inspecting more closely, he says that the fondant helps to form small crystals more quickly, but isn't necessary.

I'll simply put the chocolate on top of the cooling fudge mixture and let it melt in the mean time as he recommends. Then, it will get incorporated as I agitate later. This seems like just the thing to keep the chocolate from losing too many volatiles.

One last question before I try this:

Can I pour the hot fudge mixture into a Kitchen Aid bowl and then agitate it with the mixing paddle after it has cooled sufficiently, or is it really necessary to use a marble slab?

Thanks again,

Alan

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It is hard to say without knowing your thermometer.  Did you test it in boiling water to check the boiling point?  I'm guessing you are pretty much sea-level.  Whenever I do chocolate fudge, I cook it about 2 degrees under soft ball.  The chocolate tends to dry out the mixture.  Also, 5 minutes isn't enough time for the syrup to cool.  Let it cool undisturbed until it reaches about 100 degrees before stirring.  If you stir it while hot, you will form large sugar crystals instead of the finer ones you will get when you let it cool more.

Thanks for the advice. I don't know why Wybauw says "5 minutes." I looked at Grewelings book and he definitely says cool until the mixture hits 120 F and then agitate. That is certainly much clearer.

I'm going to try the Greweling method, only without the fondant. On inspecting more closely, he says that the fondant helps to form small crystals more quickly, but isn't necessary.

I'll simply put the chocolate on top of the cooling fudge mixture and let it melt in the mean time as he recommends. Then, it will get incorporated as I agitate later. This seems like just the thing to keep the chocolate from losing too many volatiles.

One last question before I try this:

Can I pour the hot fudge mixture into a Kitchen Aid bowl and then agitate it with the mixing paddle after it has cooled sufficiently, or is it really necessary to use a marble slab?

Thanks again,

Alan

Kitchen aid should be fine - I make my fondant that way and get nice small crystals.

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Success.

I bought a new candy thermometer and it turns out that my other thermometer was quite a bit off.

Using the new one, the results were perfect, and I can tell that I overcooked it before. I also used Greweling's recipe and added the chocolate after the fudge was off the heat. It worked perfectly and gave me a rich, fruity chocolate fudge flavor instead of the cooked one-note chocolate flavor that I got yesterday with Wybauw's recipe.

I still need to work on the texture a bit as there are some larger crystals that are noticable, but the flavor is perfect.

I think that I cooled the mixture too slowly and some of it crystallized on the top while the rest was cooling--it was in the Kitchen Aid bowl. I just need to try throwing it on a marble slab like Greweling calls for and follow the directions to the letter.

Anyway, thanks for all of the help.

Best,

Alan

Edited by A Patric (log)
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You just need to pour it out (without scraping) into or onto something that will let the solution spread out to an even, THIN layer. It should be ready to stir quicker than when left in a deep layer in a bowl. You are correct about the larger crystals forming on the surface. If you do it this way again, as the solution is cooling, sprinkle it with cold water. It turns to steam and takes some of the heat with it. The small amount of water left will not hurt anything.

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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  • 1 month later...

Can you just add peanut butter to the cooled chocolate fudge right before agitating in order to make peanut butter chocolate fudge?

I'm about to give it a try right now just for the heck of it, but I'm wondering if the fat will throw things out of balance.

edited to add: crap, no peanut butter in the house...how is this possible?! but, after a (very) little bit of research, it looks like people replace the chocolate with cocoa in peanut butter recipes. any help?

Edited by alanamoana (log)
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Can you just add peanut butter to the cooled chocolate fudge right before agitating in order to make peanut butter chocolate fudge?

I'm about to give it a try right now just for the heck of it, but I'm wondering if the fat will throw things out of balance.

I seem to recall that just before agitating is the right time to add it.

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Can you just add peanut butter to the cooled chocolate fudge right before agitating in order to make peanut butter chocolate fudge?

I'm about to give it a try right now just for the heck of it, but I'm wondering if the fat will throw things out of balance.

I seem to recall that just before agitating is the right time to add it.

Thanks Kerry, I think I'll give it a try this way with a chocolate fudge recipe using real chocolate before I go for a cocoa powder version.

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