Ah, Fudge!: Tried and Tested Recipes for Fudge, Caramels, Nougats, and Marshmallows

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The string provides a place for the sugar crystals to latch onto. As the water evaporates tiny the sugar crystals will encrust the string. Two processes are happening: saturation and evaporation.

Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge

The string is supersaturated with sugar so it cannot stay in liquid form so it will come out and form crystals. Through evaporation more and more water will be removed from the solution so the crystals will continue to grow until the water is removed. The rock candy grows molecule by molecule. Materials: 4 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water, a small saucepan, wooden spoon, candy thermometer, small, clean glass jar, measuring cup.

Cotton string, a weight to hang on the string such as a screw or galvanized washer , wax paper, a pencil or dowel to suspend the string in the jar Process: 1. Heat the water in the saucepan until it comes to a boil 2.

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Completely dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, stirring continuously with the wooden spoon until the solution grows clear and reaches a rolling boil. Remove the solution from the heat, and then carefully pour it into the jar. Cover the jar with a piece of wax paper. Tie the weight to one end of the string, and the other end to the pencil. Dip the string into the solution and roll it into some sugar.

Allow it to dry. Suspend the string into the solution and let it sit at room temperature undisturbed for several days. At the end of the week the crystals should be growing with sharp right angles and smooth faces of various sizes. The shapes of the crystals will be determined by the way the individual sugar molecules fit together. The string is put into the solution and then rolled into sugar in order to give the crystals a place to latch onto.

The sugar crystals grow because as the water evaporates over time the sugar will become more saturated and crystals will cling to the string. There are many different recipes for rock candy. Taffy making provides interesting physical changes as it goes from liquid to a hard sticky candy. Students also get a chance to feel the changes as they pull the mixture with their hands.

Oh Fudge!: A Celebration of America's book by Lee Edwards Benning

Butter a large baking sheet and set to the side. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the corn syrup, water, butter, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Continue stirring until the mixture begins to boil. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in warm water while the syrup cooks. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add food coloring and flavoring. Stir gently, and then pour onto a greased marble slab or into a shallow greased cookie sheet to cool. When the taffy is cool enough to handle, grease your hands with oil or butter and pull the taffy until its light in color and has a satiny gloss.

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You will need to have someone help with this step, which should take about 10 minutes. Let the pieces sit for about half an hour before wrapping them in wax paper or plastic wrap and twisting the ends of the wrapper. Students should consider why they need to stop stirring the mixture after the syrup starts boiling? The molecules of sugar have split into fructose and glucose. Stirring can encourage them to reverse and reunite back into sucrose. Why did the recipe require us to wash down the sides of the pan? There is a possibility that some grains of sugar could be clinging to the side of the pan.

Even a few grains could encourage recrystalization. Why does the recipe call for corn syrup? Once again the corn syrup contains long chains of glucose molecules which can prevent the sucrose from recrystalizing Why do you have to pull the taffy? Pulling the taffy aerates it or allows tiny air bubbles throughout the candy and making it lighter and chewier.

This recipe can remade with some changes. Students could be put into groups and each might make one change in the recipe.


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Try leaving out the corn syrup. The candy will probably be crystallized. One group might try not pulling the taffy- what kind of texture will result? The fact that sugar solidifies into crystals is very important in candy making. There are basically 2 categories of candies - crystalline in which crystals are part of the final product such as fudge and noncrystalline which do not contain crystal, such as lollipops, caramel and taffy.

Recipe: Vassar Fudge There are many recipes for fudge and I basically chose to make Vassar Fudge because its story is one of many that purport to explain where fudge originated. Supposedly a few coeds were trying to cook in their dorm when they came up with a concoction that turned out to be fudge. Rather than swear the coed said "Oh, fudge" and that name for this treat stuck. Check out the referenced endnote to get more specifics on the history of fudge. You don't want to stir it too soon or you will get large crystals.

The "seed" can be a sucrose molecule, a bit of air, or dust particle that gets stirred into the mixture. If this crystal forms it can grow larger and the fudge will be grainy. The more you stir the more crystals you get but you will get a lot of tiny crystals so the mixture will be smooth. Combine sugar, coarsely chopped chocolate and cream.

Cook over medium heat stirring only until sugar and chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.


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Beat until fudge begins to harden, and then transfer to a buttered platter. Cut into squares before the fudge is absolutely firm. There is also a more elaborate recipe for Smith fudge that includes molasses and brown sugar. Most of the recipes listed for Vassar fudge are pretty consistent. This is another activity where students could make both Vassar and Wellesley fudge and do a taste comparison.

What does the marshmallow change the taste? Depending on the time you have you might also include Smith fudge. The problem for cooking it in the classroom will be putting the mixture into the oven for an hour. Even a toaster oven will not hold the amount you would need for a class. The most practical thing to do unless you can get access to a school cafeteria oven is to make some beforehand to share with the children.

Pop your corn and place in a large bowl 2. Melt butter and then add brown sugar, light corn syrup, and salt. Heat for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Sweet Science: How Sugar Molecules Are Manipulated in Candy Making

Add vanilla and baking soda. Mix thoroughly and pour over popcorn 5. If you add nuts place them in a small bowl and heat them so they will not shock the syrup's temperature. Mix everything thoroughly and spread into a couple of roasting pans. I used a couple of aluminum foil pans. Just make sure the popcorn is in a deep pan so you can turn it easily. Place the popcorn into the oven and heat for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove the popcorn and let it cool.