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I am currently sixteen and so, I make a lot of mistakes.  Watching endless hours of pointless tv instead of doing my homework, accidentally “forgetting” to study for the endless tests I seem to have… And, my mistakes don’t just end there, I cannot even count the number of times I have forgotten socks, forgotten money for lunch or said the wrong thing to a friend spoiling some sort of surprise.  But, thats really what they are right?  Mistakes.  My dictionary says a mistake is “an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.”  And, the only way to gain knowledge is to learn.  With each mistake I learn something new.  For me, this means I must be learning a thousand times a day, for I make a lot of awkward mistakes.

Today’s baking fiasco was no different.  It started with a birthday, for my friend T she was turning sixteen.  We all told everyone that she was eighteen though, because we love her and she doesn’t like to announce that she’s sixteen.  Anyways, I was contemplating what should I make her.  Monday night was occupied by homework and so, on her actual birthday I substituted homemade love with three store bought lotto tickets.  But, I figured I could make it up to her by baking something on a day that I had little homework.  I peered into cookbooks, searched online but could not find anything special that I felt like making in that moment.  I took a break from my stressful search to make a list of all of the things I love about the holidays.  Then I thought about it.  Fudge.  It was perfect.  Chocolaty, something like frosting (her favorite part of cakes and cupcakes) and it screamed holiday birthday.  All I had to do was find the right recipe.  So I went to my best friend; google.  There it was, traditional fudge with six cups of sugar and all.  It was the one.  The work of stirring and checking temperatures was guaranteed to be “well worth the work,” and I was sure it would be.  I got to the end and searched for a pan to hold my babies and let them cool.

This is where I believe my mistakes started.  My mom has this thing about preservatives and organics, needless to say she is against pam and cooking sprays.  Instead, we put our organic cooking oil into silver bullet like canisters, that become pressurized with some elbow grease.  I pumped that thing until I thought my arms were going to fall of and then sprayed up my pan.  No spot of that container would be untouched, I made sure of it.

It was not until after they had cooled and I decided to make sure they were alright that I realized something.  It was olive oil in the container.  The sickly sweet taste could not begin to mask the olive taste, it was as if I had poured chocolate sauce over olive oil and butter pasta.  Not good, at all.  But, this being a mistake I knew I just had to figure out what to do.  I decided to wash my fudge.  There I stood, with my sink on the coldest setting hoping that it would work.They tasted much less like the gross oily fudge of before, but not without work.  And after each bath each piece had to be refrigerated to firm back up.  Several more mistakes were made, and some fudge was lost to the melting capabilities of water and sugar.

In the end, the work put into the recipe and the learning process made the experience worth it.  It tastes good and I am almost sure that tomorrow at school it will be gone in no time.

“Old Fashioned Fudge”

1 + 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces (or 120g) unsweetened chocolate
4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 + 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence

In a mid-sized heavy saucepan over a low heat, melt the chocolate with the milk.
Add in the sugar, corn syrup and salt.
Stir continuously until mixture is boiling.
Reduce heat and continue to cook – without stirring – until mixture reaches 230 degrees Fahrenheit (or 110 degrees Celsius) on a candy thermometer.
(If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you will know your mixture is done when a teaspoonful of the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water.)
Remove from heat as soon as mixture has reached desired temperature.
Add in the vanilla essence and the butter, but do not stir.
Allow mixture to cool in saucepan until it reaches 110 degrees F (or 43 degrees C) on your candy thermometer.
(If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cool mixture until it is lukewarm.)
Once mixture has reached desired temperature, beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to lose its gloss and starts to thicken (approximately 15 minutes).
Pour into a greased square pan (approximately 8in/ 18cm).

  • Here is where you have the option of adding some olive oil to your pan! I don’t recommend it unless you’re in the mood to bathe your fudge.

Allow mixture to stand until cool and hard.
Turn fudge out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
Cut your tasty old-fashioned fudge into squares and start eating!