SUGAR SLURRY I - COMPOSITION
DEDICATED TO TP SKAARUP AND HIS RECIPES
THE SUGAR SLURRY - WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
HAMLET ACT III, SCENE I
[from A Simple (Faulted) Recipe - Fantasy Fudge]
We consider the items in GREEN here:
3/4 cup Butter or Margarine
3 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
Lightly grease or butter a 13 x 9 inch pan and set aside.
Mix butters, sugar, and milk into a 3 quart saucepan and
bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil for 5 full
minutes on medium heat or until the candy the thermometer
reaches 234° F.
The Sugar Slurry - Why It's Important
The creation of the Sugar Slurry is the "make or break" step for
successful fudge. Its basic purpose is to create a mixture of water,
sugars, proteins and fats which will set solidly when cool. This acts
as the backbone of the fudge... RULE: if when the sugar slurry
cools it's runny then your fudge will fail.
Look at it this way: you’re adding a hot sugar syrup to a solid
(chocolate chips). If you just melted the chocolate chips, added
nuts, and cooled the mix you'd have a semi-sweet Hershey bar… a
solid. It will "set" but I wouldn’t call it fudge. Anything you add to the
solid chocolate will make it softer and less stable. Add butter... the
mix will get softer. Add milk… the mix will get softer still.
Marshmallow crème… softer. So the real trick is creating a sugar
syrup that will set solidly on its own when cooled.
Why do I call it “Sugar Slurry’’ instead of "Sugar Syrup"? "Sugar
Syrup" is a term that comes from Candy making (technically fudge
is a candy) and consists of water & sugar(s), typically water and
corn syrup & granulated sugar. Since the fudge sugar syrup
contains milk and sugar (and possibly butter and/or corn syrup
and/or salt and/or others) I prefer to call it a "slurry".
BOILING POINT - Introduction
Water boils at 212°F (100°C).
Since the sugar slurry is NOT water alone, the boiling point is not
212°F. Instead it boils around 215-245°F. That’s hot. Real hot.
(Hotter than McDonalds Hot Coffee!)
As a result: the hot sugar slurry is a dangerous mixture!
If half a teaspoon of boiling water were spilled on your hand
then you would suffer a pretty bad burn, - probably 1st or
2nd degree. If half a teaspoon of boiling sugar slurry were to
splatter on your hand it would cause at least a 2° burn or
worse. I would therefore recommend that small children be
kept out of the
kitchen and that appropriate precautions be taken (don’t
use your hand to prevent dripping onto the floor).
If you should get any hot sugar syrup on you... get it off fast!
Wipe it off on a towel, your shirt, whatever. Don’t try to make
it to the sink! Get it off! Then run your hand under cool (not
icy) water. Keep the skin clean and dry (you may run it under
cool water again and again) and then elevated above heart
level. Don’t Apply Ice. Don't Apply Butter! These don't work.
Vitamin E directly from a capsule mayor may not help. If the
skin breaks open or if it looks infected consult medical care.
Why does the boiling point increase when you add sugar to
water? The water molecules have enough energy (kinetic energy)
to be in a liquid state. If they had less energy they would be in a
solid state (ice). If they had more energy they would be in a gas
state (steam). As the water is heated the molecules gain more and
more energy until finally a few reach escape velocity and convert
into steam. This escape energy it reached at the boiling point. If
sugar molecules are added to the mixture they impede the water
molecules and it takes more energy to reach escape velocity.
I'll discuss Boiling Point more In the next section. What I’d like you
to take away from this section is that (1) The Boiling Point is higher
than for water and (2) It's a dangerous mixture. You’ll need to learn
how to control the boil (know when to stop) in order to make a
BUTTER OR MARGARINE
Butter or Margarine?
Butter of course - I prefer Sweet Butter. Land ‘0 Lakes Is very good
and available at local stores. (Note: Sweet Butter is Unsalted
Butter. Salted Butter is simply known as Butter or Salted Butter.) But
what's the deal with margarine? Is it a sin to use margarine? No,
but you’ll have to choose wisely.
Any "spreadable", "whipped" or "diet" butter or margarine Is too soft
and should not be used. Any stick margarine you consider should
be reasonably firm when allowed to come to room temperature. I
Can't Believe Its Not Butter seems to be a reasonable margarine
Don't add the butter to the milk and sugar mixture! Boil (as
described later) without the butter! Add the butter at the very
end of the boil. This makes creamier fudge. (I discuss this
in detail later.)
If the name of the butter or margarine contains the words
"spread", or "whipped", or "diet" then you should not use
this product. It will be too soft and will not set. Likewise, any
butter or margarine than comes in a tub will also be too soft.
SHAKESPEARE ON FUDGE
Hamlet (Act III, Scene I) - Fudge in a Nutshell. Think about it.
To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the
mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to
take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?
To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-
ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a
consummation Devoutly to be wish’d.
To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have
shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips
and scorns or time, The oppressors wrong, the proud man’s
contumely The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, The
Insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the
unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a
bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of
something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear
those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native
hue or resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought, And
enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents
turn awry, And lose the name of action - Soft you now! The fair
Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my
NEXT - SUGAR SYRUP II
EVAPORATED MILK or SWEETENED CONDENSED
Evaporated Milk or Sweetened Condensed Milk: that is the
question; Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and
arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of
troubles, and by opposing end them? - The Bard of Fudge. (full
Evaporated milk come in two sizes: Small can (5 oz) and Large
Can (12 oz). Evaporated milk is just that… milk that has had about
half the water removed by evaporation. It's a very thick milk (be sure
you shake the can) which contains milk proteins, milk fats, and
water. This gives the semi-sweet chocolate a more milky chocolate
taste when mixed. I guess you could make your own evaporated
milk, however you’re at constant risk of overheating the milk,
scorching it, or letting that "film" form on the surface (this means
loss of milk proteins). Better leave it to the professionals. A small
can of evaporated milk should cost under $0.60.
SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
Condensed Milk IS Evaporated Milk. There - I said it.
Sweetened Condense Milk (SCM) is Evaporated milk that had 3/4
to 1 cup of sugar dissolved into It during the evaporation process.
The result is a thick, sweet milk - similar to consistency to honey. If
you use sweetened condensed milk you’ll have to use slightly
more SCM and then cut back on the sugar in the recipe.
Sounds reasonable enough... right? Oh, but there's a war on. The
Evaporated Milk Camp rejects the Sweetened Condensed Milk
Camp and vice versa. Recipes are written with lots of (!'s) and red
ink warning of the evils of using the wrong milk product.
The Evaporated Milk vs. Sweetened Condensed Milk Controversy
The Controversy basically boils down to this… can you substitute
Evaporated Milk for Sweetened Condensed Milk? In a nutshell, the
answer is: probably - with certain modifications. More than anything
else, this controversy is advanced by those who want to blame
Fudqe Failure on this common mix-up.
“Are you crazy?!? You used condensed milk (or evaporated milk)
instead of evaporated milk (or condensed milk)!!! No wonder your
fudge didn’t set!
If you substituted condensed milk for evaporated milk it's unlikely to
be the cause of the failure to set. If you substitute evaporated milk
for sweetened condensed milk then you may have added too much
water and the fudge may be soft or fluid.
If your recipe calls for Evaporated Milk and all you've got is
Sweetened Condensed Milk you can still make fudge.
Substituted equal portions of Sweetened Condensed Milk
and Regular Milk for the evaporated Milk. That is, if you
recipe calls for (2/3) cup Evaporated Milk you can use (1/3)
cup Sweetened Condensed Milk with (1/3) cup Regular Milk.
II your recipe calls for Sweetened Condensed Milk and all
you've got Is Evaporated Milk you can still make fudge.
Substituted equal portions of Evaporated Milk and sugar.
That is, If your recipe calls for (2/3) cup Sweetened
Condensed Milk you can use (1/3) cup Evaporated Milk with
(1/3) cup Extra Fine Granulated Sugar.
It is truly a perverse universe in which we live. A small can of
Evaporated Milk is 5 oz. A large can of Evaporated Milk is 12
oz. Why isn’t the large just twice the size of the small?
These extra two ounces or milk add even more water
leading to another cause of fudge failure when a batch is
doubled. (God does not play dice with the Universe -
WATER IS THE ENEMY OF FUDGE
More specifically, water is the enemy of YOUR Fudge. Too much
water… fudge failure. Too little water… crystallized fudge product.
Just the right water… ecstasy! More on this later.
While this example recipe calls for 3 cups of sugar, l've found
about 2-2.5 cups of sugar more than enough. But for this example,
go ahead and use the 3 cups. Later, adjust the sugar(s) to suit your
Can I substitute Brown Sugar for Refined Granulated Sugar? Yes,
but don’t let the brown sugar exceed 1/2 the amount of the total
sugar. So if you were going to use 2 cups of total sugar, divide it
into 1 cup brown and 1 cup regular sugar. Using brown sugar
(which is basically refined white sugar but without all the molasses
removed) also acts as one of the flavor agents and you can end up
with a fudge called "Penuche".
Can I substitute Unrefined Sugar ("Sugar in the Raw") for
Granulated Sugar? Yes, but you may get unexpected results. The
brown cast is due to some residual molasses and this may flavor
your fudge in a way you may not like. Also, Sugar in the Raw
(turbino) is very course granulation and my not dissolve completely
during the boll. It should be noted that turbino sugar is no more
"healthy" than white refined sugar.
Can I substitute Powdered Sugar for refined Sugar? No-Probably
Not. Powdered sugar is finely ground sugar with corn starch added.
The corn starch may help thicken the fudge but it also doesn’t
dissolve well (unless heated) and you get good fudge with chunks
of unmixed sugar & corn starch. Don’t substitute powdered sugar
for fine granule regular sugar.
Really? I have an old recipe which calls for a pound of powdered
sugar. Are you sure you can't substitute powdered sugar? Yes.
In this recipe you cannot substitute powdered sugar. A different
kind of fudge which calls for powdered sugar is discussed in the
recipe section (click here to go to the Recipes Index page).
What sugar do I recommend? Any brand. What texture? Extra Fine
What is Vanilla Sugar? Vanilla is a "warm" flavor and works
wonderfully with sugar. You can make your own vanilla sugar by
placing 2-3 vanilla beans In a jar of sugar (about 6-12 cups) in an
air-tight container for about 2 weeks. If you want to make vanilla
sugar in a hurry add 1 vanilla bean and 4 cups sugar to a blender
and blend until a powder; let sit in an air-tight container for 2-4
hours. You can quick fake vanilla sugar by adding 1 tsp vanilla to 2
cups sugar in a blender.
Can I substitute Corn Syrup? How about Honey? Corn syrup is a
sugar derived from natural corn and is sweeter than cane sugar. It
also comes in liquid form. When making Candy (like hard candy)
it's common to use a mixture of corn syrup and granulated cane
sugar. You can use corn syrup but not as a replacement for ALL the
granulated Sugar. I’d recommend substituting 2 cups granulated
sugar + 1/2 cup corn syrup for the 2.5-3 cups granulated sugar.
Honey is similar to corn syrup in that its a liquefied sugar but it
contains fructose instead. It's sweeter than granulated sugar and
I'd substitute it like corn syrup (2 cups + 1/2 cup). Remember
though, CORN SYRUP and HONEY are sweeter than SUGAR so
your fudge will be sweeter than normal. Be prepared.
Sugar. Do you even need sugar at all? Yes. Do you need three
cups? Probably Not.
Sure, sugar adds "sweetness" to the fudge but sweetness is not
what you want. You want a rich, creamy, smooth fudge with good
chocolate taste. It should be mildly sweet but not so sweet that it
tastes like candy. Besides, too much sugar will supersaturate your
mixture and ultimately the fudge will contain a grainy texture. High-
sugar solutions are attempting to make a hard candy to assure that
the fudge sets. Trouble is that when you add the Flavor Base the
sugar will precipitate out and you’ll again be left with grainy fudge.
Sugar acts both as a sweetener and a volume expander. If you mix
1 cup of sugar into 10 cups of water you don't get 11 cups of sugar
water, you get around 10.1 cups of sugar water. That’s because the
sugar molecules fill up the space between the water molecules.
But when the ratio is reversed and sugar is the predominant
molecule and a little water is added the volume shrinks. That’s
because the dissolved sugar (in liquid form) takes up less space
than the dry (in solid form) sugar. But once the water is saturated
the volume no longer shrinks.
Now consider the recipe: 3/4 cups butter and 3/4 cups evaporated
milk. The butter dissolves little or no sugar and the evaporated milk
dissolves some sugar but not 3 cups worth. The result is a buttery
slurry with undissolved sugar in It. Then you heat it up. That’s when
the magic begins.
ROCK CANDY: Warm water will dissolve more sugar than cold
water. To make ROCK CANDY you heat up water to boiling and
keep adding sugar, sugar, sugar. Bring the mix back to a boil and
add more sugar. Eventually you have a "super saturated" solution
which will dissolve no more sugar. This solution is allowed to coot.
The cooler solution can't support as much dissolved sugar so it
begins to precipitate (crystallize) out. A cotton string acts as the
nidus of the crystallization and the "rock" crystals form on the string.
When the solution is cool the string is removed with the clinging
sugar crystals on it (sugar "rocks"). The remaining sugar solution
is saturated with sugar! The excess sugar that was added when
hot is now stuck to the string.
Why the chemistry course on sugar and water.., simple. It can be
summarized by this statement: