Preparation / Directions:
Step 1: PREPARE: Prewarm thermometer; use 3-quart saucepan; butter upper
sides of saucepan; measure all ingredients but vanilla and Optionals and
dump into saucepan. Grease and, if necessary, line a 5x10-inch pan. Fill
glass with ice cubes and water and sink half-inch full of water.
Step 2: DISSOLVE sugar, stirring constantly with wooden spoon over low heat
until butter melts, gritty sounds cease, spoon glides smoothly over bottom
of pan. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil.
Step 3: BOIL after washing down and crystals that may have formed with
pastry brush dipped in hot water from thermometer bath, using as little
water as possible. Introduce prewarmed thermometer. Reduce heat while
retaining boil. Stir no more than necessary.
Step 4: TEST in ice-cold water when mixture thickens and bubbles become
noisy. Ball, formed in ice water, should hold its shape until heat from your
hand begins to flatten it and should be al dente--- slightly chewy.
Approximately 234 degrees F. to 242 degrees F. (112 degrees C - 116 degrees
Step 5: SHOCK by placing saucepan in sink.
Step 6: SEED by adding, without stirring, vanilla or other flavoring. Then
allow to cool.
Step 7: STIR when lukewarm and "skin" forms on top (110 degrees F [43.5
degrees C]). Return thermometer to its hot-water bath to soak clean. Stir
fudge thoroughly but not vigorously by hand, with electric mixer, or with
food processor. Pause frequently to allow fudge to react.
Step 8: WATCH for fudge to thicken, lose its sheen, become lighter in color
or streaked with lighter shades, gives off some heat, suddenly stiffen. If
mixing by hand, fudge will "snap" with each stroke; by mixer, mixer waves
will become very distinct; by food processor, fudge will flow sluggishly
back to center when processor is stopped.
Step 9: ADD any optional ingredients before fudge totally candies.
Step 10: POUR, SCORE, AND STORE when cool in airtight container in
refridgerator or at room temperature.
Recipe is easily doubled and can be frozen.
NOTES: This is the basic fudge recipe and has many variations.