I usually use my probe thermometer in candy-making (it's made for meat, but it works for other things too). After I had my ingredients simmering on the stove, I realized that my thermometer wasnt' working. Darn it! I had to resort to the cold water test. Luckily, I had the laptop in the kitchen (because I was making this recipe) so I quickly looked up the cold-water test stages. I cooked this to the Soft Ball stage: 235° F–240° F. At this temperature, sugar syrup dropped into cold water will form a soft, flexible ball. If you remove the ball from water, it will flatten like a pancake after a few moments in your hand. Fudge, pralines, and fondant are made by cooking ingredients to the soft-ball stage.
It worked! The fudge turned out perfectly. We all loved it. It was perfect- the texture, and the flavor.
via Everything Nice Blog, via Martha Stewart
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 5-oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
5 oz (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
Coat a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line with plastic wrap leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides.
Bring evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 236 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 25 minutes.
Transfer to a mixer bowl, and beat in confectioners' sugar on low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium, and beat until mixture is thickened and smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add vanilla. Mix in optional chopped nuts.
Spread mixture in pan, smoothing top. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, about 25 minutes. Unmold fudge using plastic overhang, and discard plastic. Cut into small pieces. Penuche will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.
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