Get Baked

Chocolate Fudge – variations on a theme

So early July I decided to try the Joy of Cooking chocolate fudge to bring to friends as a treat. But also as an experiment. Why an experiment? Because I used milk chocolate. The recipe calls for bitter-sweet or semi-sweet chocolate.

and now a lesson…

Types of chocolate: There are actually all sorts of different types of chocolate depending on the amount of cocoa in there. In Canada (where I am) we basically have four different types:

Milk: (all are at least) 15% cocoa butter, 12% milk solids, 3.39% milk fat, 2.5% fat-free cocoa solids, 25% cocoa solids

Sweet: 18% cocoa butter, 12% milk solids, no required milk fat, 12% fat-free cocoa solids, 31% cocoa solids

Bittersweet/Semisweet/Dark – we lump all these together: 18% cocoa butter, 5% milk solids, no required milk fat, 14% fat-free cocoa solids, 35% cocoa solids

White: 20% cocoa butter, 13% milk solids, 3.5% milk fat, (no cocoa solids)

Canada has some laws about this – of course we do – including the fact that in Canada you cannot use cocoa butter substitutes. In other words, you cannot have vegetable fats or oils in our “chocolate” (which is allowed in the US). Also – and this I didn’t know – “chocolate” in Canada cannot have artificial sweeteners at all! If it does – that’s why in Canada it would be called “candy” instead of “chocolate”.

back to the fudge…

So milk chocolate has more milk fat and milk solids than bittersweet/semisweet chocolate. And the Joy of Cooking recipe calls for bittersweet/semisweet. So what’s the worst that could happen?

Creamy sugar? Or really sweet cream?

There are a bunch of steps missing but basically next I added the milk chocolate, brought it to a boil and waited until it hit about 240* F. Then I cooled it down to 110* F. Then you are supposed to stir until it loses its shine and becomes stiffer.

This is after 10 minutes of stirring – still shiny. Still pretty liquidy:

This is after 15 minutes. Still pretty shiny but definitely seeing trails in the chocolate:

After 20 minutes of stirring I gave up and put it in the pan.

Using a hot knife, I was able to at least cut it.

But obviously very hard to keep its shape:

The kids all enjoyed it – and the adults too to be fair – but it’s chocolate and edible so I didn’t really think anyone was gonna refuse it. But still.

This week I figured I’d try again, with the nice dark chocolate my mother picked up for me.

Remember: dark, bittersweet, semi-sweet, all have the same basic requirements.

So here are the ingredients this time:

Picture of the ingredients in their containers.

The creamy sugar step was the same but this time I remembered to take more photos so here is the chocolate added.

melted chocolate in a pot

And then the chocolate heating while I (not so patiently) took its temperature every so often:

melted chocolate in a pot with a hand on the right side of the image holding a thin metal rod into the centre of the bubbling chocolate.
Me using Toby’s instant read thermometer 🙂 Not why I bought it for him but it works really well!

Then it cooled in the sink (by putting the entire pot in the sink with cold water) and once it was cool enough I started stirring again:

melted chocolate in a pot

Oh look – just five minutes later and it already looks very different:

melted chocolate in a pot

And only 2 more minutes till it was getting less shiny and definitely stiffer:

melted chocolate in a pot again
Dark chocolate fudge in a light coloured metal pan with parchment paper having out the top.

Five minutes in the damn pan and it was already more set than the milk chocolate fudge ever was in its entire existence!

Dark chocolate fudge, cut into three square pieces with more fudge in the fore- and background.

Fudge that holds it’s shape!

Smiling grey haired female presenting person holding a chocolate covered wooden spoon

Pencil Crayons… or is it Coloured Pencils?

I dug out my pencil crayons again today. And my mandala colouring book. And being the type of person I am, I ended up getting a little distracted with the order of the pencil crayons. You see the set I have all have numbers on them but if you order them numerically they’re completely out of order in terms of the colour spectrum.

Numerical order:

Well, that would just hurt after a while I think. It turns out there’s a little pamphlet that came inside the box. And re-sorting the pencil crayons in order set out in the little pamphlet made it far more pleasing to the eye:

So I wanted to go and look up why they were numbered “out of order.” And noticed that the tin called them “colour pencils” where I always think of them as “pencil crayons.” And down the rabbit hole I went…

First we have the whole colour vs. color right? Apparently we can blame the -our -or differences (for example: behaviour/behavior; honour/honor; labour/labor; neighbour/neighbor) on the publication of two dictionaries: “A Dictionary of the English Language” published in 1755 by Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language” from 1828.

As an aside, if you like this sort of thing, Simon Winchester wrote The Professor and the Madman, which is a great book about the Oxford English Dictionary.

Back to the -our -or; the English-English merged the -or and -ur endings of the Old Frech (from wence the words came) whereas the American-English stuck to the Latin -or endings.

So what about “colour pencils” vs. “pencil crayons?” The wikipedia entry is titled “Colored pencil” although it recognizes in its opening line that “colored pencil” “coloured pencil” and “pencil crayon” are all the same thing. It notes “In Canada, coloured pencils are known as pencil crayons.” There’s no real explanation but seems like it was really just an acknowledgement of that the things are – crayons shaped and produced to be similar to pencils. It’s not coloured lead/graphite after all but rather are wax or oil-based.

And there are people who take this all very seriously. There is a Colored Pencil Society of America! And also a UK Coloured Pencil Society but it appears as though the Canadian version is no longer active.

Oh and there’s nothing on the Faber-Castell website that I could find that explains the numbering system. But there’s an awesome downloadable PDF that lists them all!