Well, hello there. You may have already noticed that the regular posts to Virtual CheeseBlogger are on semi-permanent double-secret hiatus. I’m taking a break to work on other things. If some rip in the space-time continuum happens and somehow blogging resumes, you will be notified on the Virtual Cheeseburger Facebook page, which is also on semi-permanent double-secret hiatus.
Some would call it ‘Abomination’. I call it DELICIOUS! My relatives call it…
The Fudgeamel – A Somewhat Expected Journey
My first encounter with Fudgeamel actually started as a batch of old fashioned fudge that did not set properly. My remedy was to melt it down again, add more sugar, milk, etc, and re-boil the mixture to 236 degrees F, which those in the candy making industry call the ‘soft ball’ stage, (AKA the temperature that you need to make fudge).
So What is The Deal with the Tootsie Rolls?
Well, after my fudge re-boiled and I let it cool, the results definitely looked like fudge, but the texture was slightly chewy, almost like caramel, and it tasted a bit like Tootsie Rolls.
I wonder if the original Tootsie Roll was actually just a bad batch of fudge. Anyway, I don’t usually plan to make a batch of Fudgeamel, mostly because I prefer Fudge, but also because my brother, who coined the phrase ‘Fudgeamel’, teases me every time I make a fresh batch of normal fudge, by asking me if I’m making Fudgeamel. Every time, I must remind him that FUDGE is the goal.
The Fudgeamel – PART TWO: The Desolation of the Tootsie Rolls
This time around, I had a “$H!T TON” (technical term) of semi-stale Tootsie Rolls lying around. I don’t like to waste stuff, and knew that since they’re mostly just sugar and cocoa, they’d probably melt down pretty easily. I used my previous experience with Fudgeamel Version Zero to attempt a candy resuscitation, knowing the end result was probably going to still taste like Tootsie Rolls, but would be be a substantial improvement to the nearly jaw-breaking state in which the Tootsie Rolls currently consisted. I expected that this would be another Fudgeamel. I was a bit surprised at how well this worked, but not shocked at how close this was to my earlier fudge re-boil.
Here’s how I did it:
I unwrapped and added 50 tootsie rolls (the skinny 3 inch ones twisted in wax paper – one of those is approximately 4 midgees) , along with a cup and a half of sugar, about a cup of half and half, and two blocks (2 oz) of unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate, to a double boiler – use a metal pot, not a bowl for the top part of the boiler.
If you’re familiar with traditional candy making, or know how to make old fashioned fudge, it’s basically the same process:
Slowly, AND I DO MEAN SLOWLY, melt down the ingredients, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the candy has dissolved. You don’t need to use a double-boiler for this first part, but it does help prevent or reduce scorching during the melting process.
Then, once everything is melted, (and you used the double boiler method) you can move the top pot out of the boiler and directly over medium/medium-high heat until the mixture starts a slow boil. Lower the heat if necessary to maintain the slow boil.
Clamp on your candy thermometer and cook to 236 degrees F (don’t go past 240!). Remove from heat, drop a couple tablespoons of butter on the top of the mixture and let the whole thing cool to about 110 degrees F . This will take more than an hour. I can’t tell you exactly how long. Don’t mix, don’t shake, don’t touch until this “chocolate napalm” cools down!
Then, add some vanilla extract and stir the mixture in the pot until your arm falls off, then stir some more. Then stir some more. Keep stirring. Did I say stop? No. Keep stirring. You’ll know when to stop when the shiny stuff starts turning a little less shiny. Then get it out of the pot and spread into a greased baking dish lined with wax paper, which also is greased (with cooking spray or butter). If it doesn’t set completely, give it more time to set up. Fudgeamel should be more forgiving than traditional fudge, which is notorious for seizing up into a solid mass before you get it out of the pot.
When the fudgeamel is set, you can use the wax paper to pull it out of the baking dish so you can more easily cut it into squares. Plastic knives work much better than metal. If it isn’t devoured immediately, you can store it in any airtight container.
If your fudgeamel starts to dry out , you can chop it up into “fudge dust”, keep it in a ziplock bag or airtight container, and use it to make hot cocoa.
Just put a couple tablespoons of ‘fudge dust’ into a large mug, pour hot milk over it and stir until the dust dissolves. BOOM! Hot Cocoa!
The Fudgeamel – Part Three: Fudge and Back Again
Here’s a video of ‘The Boiling’ (AKA Yule Log for Chocolate Lovers) : If you click on the full-screen icon, it is in 720p HD.
DO NOT donut and drive. If you are going to donut today, Donut Responsibly. PLEASE get a designated coffee drinker.
DO NOT eat half of a donut on National Donut Day.
Eat the whole donut or save your deviant donut-eating heresy for another day.
The toasted coconut donut is the scariest looking donut, and you will probably not take it. This is fine with me, because I will save it for last and you will be missing out on a one-way ticket to flavor town.
At the first opening of the bag, you instantly get a whiff of some sweet toasty caramel aromas resembling waffles or waffle batter.
Nothing special to look at, but there are some kind of herbs visible on the chip. Perhaps a few of the Colonel’s 11 super secret herbs/and or spices found their way into the bag.
If you hadn’t told me what flavor these chips were, I probably would never have picked out the ‘chicken flavor’. Clearly, Lay’s wasn’t going for a Chicken Soup chip here, so I think they got the amount of chicken flavor right. They are very savory, with a hint of sweetness. These are like the kettle corn of potato chips, if that kettle corn were ground up with herbs and spices and breaded on a chicken cutlet and deep fried. The only thing I think these chips were missing were a hint of maple syrup flavor. As you can see from the ingredient list below, they went the brown sugar route instead. I suppose I could just dip these in maple syrup. (problem solved!)
Curiously, MSG is absent from the ingredient list. One of the other ingredients listed below must be responsible for my inability to stop eating these chips. I wonder if “Mixed Triglycerides” is how food manufacturers say ‘crack’ these days.
I just got around to trying the other two flavors.
Cheesy Garlic Bread was one of those flavors that I had to sample over two-days. The first chip gave me a pretty strong tangy cheese flavor, like romano/parmesan – an almost ‘mac & cheesy’ kind of flavor, but I wasn’t picking up any garlic. It must have been my tastebuds that day, because I tried them again today, got the cheesy, then the garlic that I missed yesterday hit me like a brick, followed by an after-note of that melted and slightly browned mozzarella flavor you get when you eat garlic toast. So, WELL DONE, Lay’s and Contest finalist Karen Weber-Mendham from Land ‘o Lakes, WI!
An excellent flavor simulation!
Finally, Sriracha chips were pretty much what you expect, but not nearly as painful as pouring that rooster sauce on your tongue. Smelling the bag, you’d think you were going to eat BBQ flavor chips, and the flavor is a little reminiscent of that, but without the smoke. Also, these are Sriracha chips, so (duh) you’re gonna get some heat. It’s a slow burn, which allows you eat a good amount of these chips, which you will definitely want to keep eating. If you like Andy Capp Hot Fries or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, you’ll dig these chips.
I liked all three flavors. You can never go wrong with a cheesy flavored chip and the Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor will surely be a crowd-pleaser. I’m sure Sriracha (and Tyler Raineri from Lake Zurich, IL) will have a pretty strong fan base and garner plenty of votes.
My vote is going for Chicken & Waffles. Not only is it an absolutely absurd flavor for a chip, but it was ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD! As I said, they could improve on it with some maple, but it’s clearly good enough – I ate almost an entire bag of these things.Christina Abu-Judom of Phoenix, AZ has made a believer out of me.