Full Rolling Boil to Soft Ball Stage
by Bonnie Call
Oh my gosh I've tried and tried this recipe! This is the Hershey's Cocoa Rich Chocolate Fudge recipe and my mother made it all the years we were growing up. And for years, I've been able to make it, too, just by doing the cold water test.
For the past few years, I've just had no luck at all. I'm using a good quality stainless steel pan that has an aluminum core inside...so it's tri-clad; stainless steel, aluminum, stainless steel.
No matter what, I can't get this recipe to turn out. I finally gave up on the cold water test and invested in a good quality candy thermometer.
Guess what? I found out my thermometer showed 198 degrees when the water boiled! It finally did reach 208 but never went higher. So I went back to the soft ball stage, but just couldn't get it to work.
I guess my real question is, when making this fudge, approximately how many minutes is it between the time the candy reaches the full rolling boil until it reaches 234 degrees (soft ball stage)?
I kept checking it every couple of minutes (is it true you need to use a metal spoon when doing this?) and I'm not sure if maybe it DID reach that stage, and I just didn't realize it, or if in fact it never did.
I'd thought the second time that I'd gotten it right. I added the butter and vanilla and let it cool, then I beat it.
it wasn't going to work. It thickened but never lost its gloss, and never did set up. It is stretchy and sticky. It never set. Please help!
Sorry to hear you are having such trouble with your fudge. I'm not familiar with that exact recipe, but if you want to add it below in the comment section, we can take a look at it.
It's good that you have a candy thermometer. That does make a difference in getting the right temperature.
Since your thermometer doesn't seem to be reading accurately, you need to adjust for the difference in calibration. It could be that you've got a faulty thermometer, or it could be your altitude that is affecting the boiling point of water.
Either way, this is what you need to do in order to allow for the difference. Place your thermometer in water and bring it to the boil. Water SHOULD boil at 212 ° F., if your thermometer reads differently, make allowances for it in your recipes.
For instance, if your thermometer only registered 200 at boiling water, add 12 degrees to whatever temperature you are trying to reach.
Give that a try and see if it doesn't make a difference for you. It's a lot easier to try that than for us to guess at the length of time between the full rolling boil to soft ball stage for you and your unique altitude and weather situation. (Humidity affects candy making, too!)