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Adventures in Fudge
A post-fudge-making experience retold


So here I am on a late Wednesday night, making dinner for my girlfriend, who is due home from a long day of work in about half an hour. I decide I'm going to be a sweetheart and make dinner for her.

So I grab some frozen vegetables and drop them in boiling water, and throw some fish sticks into the oven. Prest-o change-o, 25 minutes later I have a great* meal.

*: Great is a subjective word that I thought would fit well here.

After dinner is done and I'm washing the dishes, my babe slides in behind me and wraps her arms around my waist.

Hey Honey...
She seems expectant. This is not a good start.
To make up for the dinner you could make me some fudge, you know...

...

...

Oh... Kay.

Though tantalizing at first, this prospect has several negative thoughts attatched to it.
  • She didn't like dinner.
  • I had no idea you could MAKE fudge.
  • We just moved in, and our cupboards were pretty bare.
  • I have no idea how to cook fudge.
  • I can't cook.
But...
... I stammer, as she slides a peice of paper into my pocket.
It's all on the paper. See you in a bit,
She says as she trots off to the bedroom. I pull out the paper.

The recipe and ingredients are on the back of a jar you can find in aisle 6, "Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme."

Now it's 9 o'clock at night, and I had no car - so I had to walk out to the all-night grocery store, Safeway. Finding the jar was difficult. It wasn't next to the baking supplies, oh no. It wasn't on the shelf with the chocolate syrup and stuff. Like that makes sense. I read the ingredient list on the back.
I decided to cheat a little bit, mainly due to my own ignorance. Honeybunches doesn't like nuts, and I had no clue what evaporated milk was. I was envisioning this vapour that you breathe in or condense or something before you drink it.

It didn't matter much that it was raining outside, because when I picked up a carton of milk, a corner punctured and it started sprinkling milk all over my chest. I trudged back home in a huff after the $20CA purchase.

Back inside and dry, I took a look at the official instructions:
  • Combine sugar, margarine and milk in a 2 L (8 cup) saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly (mixture scorches easily).
  • Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted.
  • Add marshamllow creme, nuts, and vanilla, beat until well blended.
  • Pour into a greased 33x23 cm (13x9 inch) pan.
  • Cool; cut into squares.
The word "constantly" showed up 2 more times than what I am used to. This is going to be a lot of work.

My first battle involved the saucepan. What WAS a saucepan? After a slap upside the head and several minutes of mocking, I learned the hard way that it is simply a pot. WHY CAN'T THEY JUST SAY POT?!

My second battle was with my own arm. It was rebelling against the constant stirring. This is where I encountered Mysterious Property #1(tm). In stage one of the cooking process, you combine this very odd and unhealthy-looking mixture of 1 part milk, 2 parts sugar, and 1 part butter, and attempt bringing it to a boil.
MYSTERIOUS FUDGE PROPERTY #1 - I turned my stove to dial 6 of 10. I thought that this would boil it. Oh ho ho what a joke. I stirred and stirred for about 10 minutes before I ignored the warnings and pumped the stove up to 9. This was very scary and dangerous; I've tried to clean burned-sugar pots before. It starts boiling pretty quick - and the bubbles rise higher and higher. I turn down the stove several times, but the bubbles keep on gettin' higher, they were boiling boiling boiling on that burning ring of fire. I ended up with the stove on setting *3*, and the bubbles kept coming for well over 5 minutes. In a nutshell, the mysterious property is that it will not boil at setting 6, but will not stop boiling at setting 3.
So here I am, watching my fattening sauce boil away. I have a nice big black ladle in my hands, and I start experimenting. This is when I find...
MYSTERIOUS FUDGE PROPERTY #2 - Take a big scoop of bubbles (no liquid) off the top of your heart attack sauce. Watch how the bubbles sort themselves in the first second - big at top, small on the bottom. The second second passes and you will see the bubbles space themselves perfectly symetrically on your spoon surface. This is creepy enough in itself. The bubbles do nothing for a split second - then suddenly, they fade away, leaving me thinking of old sci-fi special effects. I think I could market this stuff as a good X-Files prop.
Yes, this disturbing sauce has some disturbing qualities. But wait! That's not all!
MYSTERIOUS FUDGE PROPERTY #3 - The steam coming off of your pot is not water. I realized this afterwards; I should've known sooner, considering I didn't add any water to this lethal mix. If you hold your hand in the steam for a few seconds, it will come away sticky and coated with once-evaporated now-condensed sugar. Get a lungfull of that one.
The rest of the recipe went by without much hassle or weirdness - towards the end, as it cooled and I was adding in marshmallow - the stirring got to be very tiring, so I suggest that only men (or women from australia) attempt to stir it.

As I served it up to my now-happy girlfriend, she has this big grin on her face. I know I've done good here. She wonders what took it so long, but is soon lost in chocolate ecstacy.

For a few moments, that is.
Where's the vanilla?
Uh... woops. I forgot to add the vanilla.

Wait a minute! One tablespoon of vanilla isn't going to affect this mess - how could she tell?!

HOW COULD SHE TELL!??!

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