I didn’t mean to make fudge this morning. To be honest, I never mean to make fudge. That way, I can’t be disappointed when I invariably fail to make fudge. For starters, I never manage to dissolve all of the sugar before the mixture begins to boil. I think I have the wrong sort of sugar. That’s it – it must be the sugar. I have the sort that won’t dissolve. It’s also the sort that loves to burn on the bottom of the pan well before the temperature reaches anything approaching that elusive soft ball stage.
So, how on earth did I end up making fudge this morning? Well, the thing is, I didn’t mean to make it. I was trying to make toffee instead. The fudge was an accident – a failure to make toffee.
I wasn’t feeling particularly confident about my ability to make toffee either, but M has been reading a book about Roald Dahl and found a recipe for toffee there. On page 82, to be precise. Roald Dahl said this toffee was “dashed good”, so naturally M wanted to try it. I did warn her about sugar crystallization, separation and burning but she didn’t really ‘get’ my sugar phobia.
As it turned out, the ‘recipe’ was simply a list of ingredients with a note that this dashing good toffee cost 1/10d to make. I hadn’t reckoned on undertaking a Great British Bake Off technical challenge so early in the day. The only things missing were Sue Perkins and the terrifying words, “On your marks, get set … bake!”
It all went well for a very short time. The sides of the pan weren’t sticky with undissolved crystals, the mixture hadn’t seized and I hadn’t burned my tongue or fingernails (yes, it’s possible to scorch your fingernails when you mistakenly think it’s a good idea to poke a bit of boiling caramel around the end of a spatula with them).
And then of course, it all unfolded with tedious inevitability. The mixture bubbled and began to burn on the bottom of the saucepan. I whipped it off the heat, stirred furiously and muttered all kinds of sorcerous curses. One more wasted batch of sugar destined for the sink … but not quite. My sugar thermometer was fairly sure we’d nearly reached the soft ball stage and so, in a final flourish of indifference to the science of sugar, I returned the pan to the heat and decided to go for fudge. Well, a burnt sort of treacle toffee sort of fudge, anyway.
And what do you know – it turned out to be the best treacle toffee fudge that I’ve ever made. Fudged fudge. Or, as M writes:
Today we made some toffee (not). Well it was supposed to be toffee but it came out as fudge.
Roald Dahl’s Treacle Toffee (Not)