When it comes to addictions (drugs, porn, farmers), you really have to be 100% disgusted with yourself before you can move on. I know because that’s how it is for me every holiday season with fudge.
I make two kinds: chocolate fudge and a sort of buttery, caramel-flavored fudge with pecans. Then, I spend the remainder of the year trying to decide which I like better. I can’t seem to break the horrible chain of events. I make the fudge. I eat the fudge. I make fudge to give to someone else. But, then I end up eating it. So, I have to make more. Which I then eat.
So, that’s where I am at this point. Thoroughly. Completely. Disgusted.
Boston Cream Candy
You need a candy thermometer for this one. Also, I hope you like stirring, because there’s going to be a lot of that. A lot. Furthermore, if you live at high altitudes, you’ll need to consult someone smarter than me to figure out how to adjust the temperature. Or just hold off until you move to sea level. It’s awesome down here.
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
2/3 cup chopped pecan pieces
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup half-and-half
¼ cup heavy cream
Butter an 8x8-inch baking pan. Line the pan with enough parchment paper to hang over the sides. Butter the paper, too, which will help it stick to the pan. Have your pecans, baking soda, and vanilla all measured out and ready in their own little bowls by the stove. Also, have your oven mitts and candy thermometer within arm’s reach.
In a heavy-based 3 qt. saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, salt, corn syrup, half-and-half, and cream. Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. It takes a while and you can’t really tell by looking at it. The best thing to do is drag your finger along the spoon and rub the mixture between your fingers. Yes, it’s hot. Listen, no one said addiction was going to be easy. If there’s any graininess at all, keep stirring until it’s gone.
Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture foams to a boil. Add the baking soda. Lower the heat and stir like mad. Your oven mitts are right there if you need them. The mixture will double in volume, and then gradually subside and take on a golden hue. At this point, hook your candy thermometer onto the pot. Stir over medium-low heat until the temperature just registers 240°F. It takes a while and will hover at 239°F before jumping up, so pay close attention. You must remove the pot from the heat before it passes 240°F.
Okay, so with the pot off the heat, you can take out the candy thermometer so it doesn’t keep getting in the way of the stirring. Which you need to keep doing, fast. What you have will look like loose caramel sauce. Add the vanilla and stir carefully (it may spit). Add the pecans and continue stirring quickly. Now, you really have to pay attention, again. Keep stirring. I’m serious, if you stop, you’re screwed. You’ll notice that it seems to be getting thicker and lighter. Then, it will start to make this squeaky, sticky candy sound. I don’t know how else to describe it. You’ll know it when you hear it. When the spoon starts making a path on the bottom of the pot, you’re almost there. Yes, keep stirring.
The moment you notice that the mixture is starting to lose its gloss and turn kind of matte, start pouring into your buttered baking dish. You’ll have about 15 seconds to debate this with yourself. If you wait too long to pour, the mixture will get too dry or, worse, harden in the pot. If you stop stirring too soon, it might not solidify at all, so then you’ll have the best caramel sauce ever, but no fudge. So, go ahead, make a decision. I’m sure I’ll hear all about it in the comment section. Let cool until fudge-like (you can refrigerate it), and cut into squares.
Die and go, hopefully, to heaven (or whatever other plans you might have for the afterlife).
Source: Fine Cooking, from an article written by Kay Fahey.