Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Delicious Failure

No cookbook on fudge has been published in the US for twelve years, and now I know why. Back then, fudge was still made using fussy, complex methods concocted by our grandmothers. Their recipes demanded elaborate and time-consuming techniques, and involved precise temperatures and professional thermometers, perfect weather conditions, sinks of ice, special pans, unused wooden spoons and hours of patience.

Absolutely no one, these days, has the time or patience or even experience to successfully master many of the old-fashioned fudge recipes. My fudge cookbook-in-progress uses scrumptious, time-saving ingredients that did not exist in grandma's time, and infuses fudge with new flavors and trends from the Starbucks decade.

However...here comes the "but"....grandma had some darned good recipes, and I should include a few in the book. You need to know that I am a competent long-time cook, intuitive and creative, experienced enough to turn near disasters into culinary triumphs. I have now tackled three old-style fudge recipes, and not one has been 100% successful. One yielded vanilla walnut fudge soup, excellent as a dip for cold apple slices.(Diagnosis- too much humidity for it to correctly set.) Another resulted in delicious buttery Kahlua caramels. (Diagnosis-too much ice immersion and too quickly, causing it to set too firmly. The opposite of the vanilla walnut fudge soup problem.) This week, I made latte fudge, using cream, expresso, organic cinnamon and good quality vanilla. The taste was extraordinary, but it...did...not...set...again!!! I cheated this time...stuck it in the the refrig after a day of unrequited anticipation, and it finally set to my satisfaction, but the uber-cold caused the texture to become grainy.

Is there a message here? I don't know. Maybe. I taught my youngest that the keys to success include persistence, patience and humility.

I now have the humility, at least. And a new respect for my grandmother.

Send emails to me at DeborahWhite@UniqueRecipes.com.

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