Sunday, March 30, 2014

Failure...And Coming Back

I'm going to confess that I don't always hit home runs in the kitchen.  As a matter of fact, I pretty much suck at making any kind of candy that requires more than just melting some chocolate and spreading it on a slab (i.e., chocolate bark).  Chocolate bark, I can do.  But when I have to boil stuff to a specific temperature, I fail. Every. Single. Time.  But, as an optimist (or crazy person), I keep trying, thinking I will finally "get it."  But then I don't.  Again.

This week's debacle comes from the latest issue of Bon App├ętit magazine in the form of  Pecan Buttermilk Fudge:

Seriously, how could you not want to try and make that?  I also happened to have some extra buttermilk to use up. So there was that. Plus my eternal optimism.  I tend to ignore that niggling voice that says, "But Marna, you suck at making fudge from scratch." Should have listened to that voice.  I think I overcooked the fudge, because it set harder than a two-day-old baguette.  I had to literally chisel pieces using a steak knife and a meat tenderizer.  Not lying. I was too embarrassed to take a photo of that mess.

But. But. The reason I didn't throw it all in the trash is because the crumbly shards I was able to scrape off tasted really good, the texture notwithstanding. So, I broke the slab in half and put it away for a couple of days until I figured out what to do with it.

Then I figured it out. Not how to make fudge. No, that still eludes me.  I figured out what to do with this impossible-to-eat (seriously jaw-breaker hard) slab of overcooked sugar.  Here's the problem: since the recipe is based on a mistake and I'm not sure exactly what I did wrong, there's no way to replicate this.  Besides, who wants purposely screw up a batch of fudge, then use the results to make something else? That's just crazy.

Besides, the recipe would go like this:

Crust: 4 whole graham crackers
3 Wasa whole grain crackers
1/8 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter

Crush crackers in food processor into fine crumbs.  Stir in sugar and melted butter.  Pat into 8x8 inch pan.

Filling: 1 batch of jacked up Pecan Buttermilk Fudge
approx. 1/3 cup caramel sauce (I used Smuckers brand)

Melt the jacked up fudge on low power (I used level 4 for 7 minutes) until softened. Stir until smooth, then add the caramel sauce. Combine thoroughly, then pour over crumb crust. Bake in an oven that you set to preheat to 425 (because you're making a quiche crust so the oven was preheating for that anyway). Take the bars out when the topping is slightly bubbling around the edges.  I think it took about 5-7 minutes.

Topping: approx. 1 c. chocolate chips

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the bars, then let them melt.  Carefully spread the chocolate chips smooth over the bars.

Like I said, this can not be replicated. So, sorry about that. But if you want to try this out, go for it!

Here's the good news.  The crumb crust I made was really good.  Combining the Wasa crackers with the graham crackers gave it great texture and not too sweet. Plus it held up when I poured the melted fudge/caramel sauce mixture. I think I'll substitute Wasa crackers for some graham crackers every time I make a graham cracker crust.

But I guess the point of this post is not to share a recipe, but to show all of you that it's okay to make mistakes.  And to experiment. And be willing to keep trying, even though you've failed many times before. Honestly guys, it's just food. Get in that kitchen and start cooking!

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