Well folks, I have made a batch of penuche and a batch of peanut butter fudge.
Both turned out wrong. I must admit defeat, or at least concede defeat, to the fact that I am not a candy maker.
So, Penuche. I did a little research online before starting the process and kept that information in mind while making it. I carefully watched the candy thermometer until it reached exactly soft ball. I cooled the candy by removing it from the heat until it reached exactly 110. I used a mixer to beat the candy until it lost its gloss. It never firmed up. I even put it into the refrigerator and it’s still mushy.
Then, Peanut Butter Fudge. I read even more about candy making and realized some mistakes I made on the penuche. Determined not to repeat those, I was even more careful on my second go-around. I carefully combined the ingredients and stirred them just enough to combine them. Then I left them completely alone until the candy reached soft ball. I even walked away while the candy was cooling! I prepared a pan lined with parchment paper, then poured in the candy mixture. It was thin in an 8×8 pan, but I had hope!
The center of it is firm and the edges are mushy.
The mistakes I made with penuche were that I stirred it constantly during cooking, and probably beating it too long. According to some of the information I read after the penuche experience, stirring prevents the sugar crystals from combining into the strata that holds up the candy. Secondly, beating it too long separated the few crystals that may have formed. While it still tastes good, no one wants to eat mushy candy.
With the peanut butter fudge, I was afraid to stir it at all! Thinking back to some of the fudge information I read, this one might have needed a stir or two, but not many, in order to distribute the crystals evenly. That may be why the center has turned into decent looking and feeling fudge, but the edges are soft. Gram’s recipe does say “cool & stir” but I was gun shy.
I give up. That’s okay, my family and I much prefer cookies anyway.