Food Principles Lab: Candy

29 04 2009

Our fudge recipes were cut in half but the cooling times were not adjusted – Fortunately- I was paying attention to how the fudge was cooling and just started mixing at the right time! Apparently, ours was the only fudge-success so our entire class will taste it thursday. Our nut-brittle was not so successfull…

Fudge is an example of crystalline candy ( with a “fat phase” of adding chocolate/nuts) while Nut Brittle is an example of non-crystalline prepared candy. I know it sounds opposite but that is from our lecture notes.

Chocolate Walnut Fudge 

Adapted from Joy of Cooking


1 cup sugar

¹⁄16 teaspoon salt

¼ cup half-and-half
¼ cup heavy cream

¹⁄8 cup light corn syrup

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon pure vanilla
½ to ¾ cup English or black walnuts, coarsely chopped

Servings: About 5 pounds; 32 pieces


1. Combine sugar, salt, half-and-half, heavy cream, and syrup in a large heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 mins. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brushed dipped in warm water to remove any sugar crystals that may have formed, remove from the heat.

2. Sir in chocolate until melted and completely smooth. Brush down the sides of the pan again, then set the pan over medium heat. Place a warmed candy thermometer in the pan, cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 234°F, the soft-ball stage. Remove from the heat.

3. Float butter and vanilla on top but do not stir in (stirring at this point can cause graininess). Cool the candy to 120°F  ( if you double this recipe, cool to 110 ) by placing the bottom of the pan in COOL water to stop the cooking. * We cooled to approx. 120 and stirred inside pot.  Alternatively, pour it out onto a marble slab or baking sheet (inverted over a rack)sprinkled with cold water, without scraping the bottom of the pan.

4. When it is cool, stir the fudge in the pan with a wooden spoon or work it on the slab with a candy scraper just until it “snaps” and begins to lose its sheen. * I just stirred.

5. Stir in chopped walnuts.

6. Turn the fudge out onto an 8-inch square pan lined with buttered foil that extends over the sides. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula, dipping it in hot water as needed. Let stand for at least 1 hour.

7. Use a large heavy knife to score the fudge into 1-inch squares. Cover and refrigerated for at least 24 hours. * We just did this Tuesday so our class is tasting it Thursday- Apparently no one elses’ lab had success because the cold water they used to cool it was super cold and worked too quickly.

8. Remove the fudge from the pan and peel of the foil, Use the knife to finish cutting the fudge into squares. Served in paper candy cups.

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Hmm I can’t wait to taste it tomorrow!


Nut Brittle:

I should say How NOT to make nut brittle ?

So while we were making the fudge, our group also attempted this nut brittle twice, both times the sugar ended up cooking too quickly past 300 * and resulted in this dark, burnt sugar. 

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I knew it was burnt because my future Mother In Law makes brittle every christmas and I LOVE IT! It is nearly the same color as the peanuts- so this was way to dark in appearance for it to be right.

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Ah well- Here is the recipe:

Nut Brittle

Adapted from Mark Bittman

Time: About 20 minutes, plus cooling

Yield: Approximately 1 pound


Butter for greasing lined baking sheet

2 cups sugar

2 Tb water

1 + ½ cups roasted or raw nuts, unsalted



1. Line a baking sheet (preferably one with a low rim) with aluminum foil and use a bit of butter to grease the lined sheet.

2. Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy skillet and turn heat to medium. Stir until smooth, then cook, adjusting heat so that mixture bubbles steadily. * We were not stirring very often at all- I think this is why the mixture all of a sudden burnt because there were big clumps of sugar and it was  not a smooth mixture*  Stir occasionally until mixture turns golden brown (which it may do rather suddenly), and reaches 300 degrees.

3. Stir in the nuts and a large pinch of salt, if desired

4. Pour mixture onto greased lined baking sheet and spread out. You can score brittle with a knife when it has solidified slightly but not yet turned hard; that way, it will break into even squares.

5. Cool for about a half-hour, and then break into pieces.

6. Store in a covered container for up to two weeks




4 responses

29 04 2009

ow! What a fun and delicious lab 😉 Thanks for sharing the recipes!

29 04 2009

Oh my, I totally want to try this!!

29 04 2009

Wow, those recipes seem really complicated! I don’t think I would have pulled either off successfully. It sounds like a fun lab though…

30 04 2009
Sweet and Fit

I wouldnt ever trust myself near that nut brittle!

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