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Please help save my hot fudge sauce

I tried a new hot fudge sauce recipe and the result is somewhat grainy and turns solid and not pleasantly chewy when it hits ice cream. The ingredients in the sauce are unsweetened chocolate, condensed milk, butter and confectioner's sugar. What can I do to make this more of a sauce and less of a candy and perhaps rescue the texture?

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  1. It sounds like the chocolate seized up. The result is usually a grainy solid mass. I've found if I barely warm the chocolate until it melts, stir a little warm milk into the chocolate and then return that to the pot of warm milk, I don't get that grainy effect (I think it's called tempering the chocolate but I could be wrong). Can you put up the recipe and method you used? When I make mine I use no confectioners sugar but do use caramel sauce or simple syrup for sweetner and to add a glossy shine. Sometimes I add a little water at a time at the end to bring it to the right consistency.

    6 Replies
    1. re: morwen

      Agree with everything here but think the H2O at end is definitelyto be avoided and could cause the same problem all over again.

      1. re: morwen

        Here is the recipe. It's supposed to be Bailey's Fudge Sauce from long-gone Boston ice cream shop. I may start by adding a bit of heavy cream. I'm reluctant to add corn syrup because the sauce is already a bit sweet for my taste.

        4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
        8 Tbl. unsalted butter
        1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
        12 oz. condensed milk
        1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

        1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the chocolate and the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add ½ c. of the sugar, then a little of the milk. Continue alternating sugar and milk until they are all added.
        2. Set the pan over medium heat and cook until small bubbles appear on the sides of the pan. Let the mixture bubble steadily, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.
        3. Stir in the vanilla. The sauce may look curdled but it’ll become smooth later. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is no longer burning hot and has thickened slightly.

        1. re: Velda Mae

          I'm guessing that the unsweetened chocolate was untempered,so of course you developed the graininess as it interacted either with the water component of the milk or when it hit the cold.

          By the way, the corn syrup suggestion was a great food chemistry tip -- it wasn't to add sweetness! Corn syrup behaves differently from sugar and blocks sugar from crystallizing -- in case it was actually sugar crystals that caused the graininess. But I think the unsweetened chocolate seized and became grainy. Not a good idea to use that in hot fudge sauce.

          So, rather than recover this recipe, I'd begin again. Get a new recipe that's honed and foolproof. Lots of them out there, and gosh darn it, I can't find my favorite one at the moment.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Thanks for your suggestions. I do have several hot fudge recipes in my collection but I was trying to recreate this specific sauce because so many of my relatives wax nostalgic about it. I've never used 10X sugar in hot fudge sauce before. Do you think the cornstarch could have affected the texture? I tried adding heavy cream, which improved the consistency but not the grainy texture.

            1. re: Velda Mae

              Don't know about the cornstarch.

              What I do know is that you've described the classic syndrome of chocolate seizing. The chance that the graininess might also be
              due to sugar crystallization is a small one, but that's where the corn
              syrup gives you insurance against that happening. Adding heavy cream -- which has a lot of water, which makes chocolate seize -- would not remedy the situation.

            2. re: maria lorraine

              My mom tasted the mixture and agreed that it was definitely too sweet so I'm not going to try to resolve the graininess issue. Maria Lorraine, would you please post your favorite recipe when you have a moment?

        2. did you put any vanilla in the sauce? That will sometimes make it seize when it hits ice cream as well.

          I'd add warm cream for sure, maybe more butter.

          1. maybe reheat it in a double boiler and add some light corn syrup

            1 Reply
            1. re: bw2082

              good tip

            2. I wonder ig you may have overheated the chocolate too. Try straining the sauce through a fine meshed sieve and add some butter or other fat.

              1. When you say condensed milk, I assume it is sweetened condensed milk?

                What you could do: Use sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet rather than unsweetened chocolate, and skip the sugar. Heat the chocolate and milk together just till chocolate melts.

                1 Reply
                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  Agree to all this, but it wouldn't be the nostalgic recipe mentioned above.
                  Unfortunately, the nostalgic recipe uses untempered chocolate (just askiing for trouble when it is used in non-baked goods) and a boatload of sugar and is unstable.

                  Your post reminds me. Add the chocolate OFF the heat. Just stir it in at the end. Check other hot fudge sauce recipes to confirm proper procedure.

                2. This recipe appeared in today's e-newsletter from America's Test Kitchen. I thought I'd post it to see what people think about it. I've never seen cocoa powder used in hot fudge sauce before.

                  RECIPE: Hot Fudge Sauce
                  Hot fudge sauce makes any bowl of ice cream into something special. We found that combining cocoa powder⎯Dutch-processed for the richest color⎯and semisweet chocolate produced the fudgiest flavor.

                  Makes about 2 cups

                  10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
                  1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
                  3/4 cup light corn syrup
                  1/3 cup sugar
                  1/3 cup heavy cream
                  1/3 cup water
                  Pinch table salt
                  3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                  Microwave chocolate, whisking often, until melted and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk in cocoa until dissolved.
                  Meanwhile, simmer corn syrup, sugar, cream, water, and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 4 minutes.
                  Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Cool mixture slightly, about 2 minutes, before whisking in melted chocolate until smooth. Serve warm.
                  The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Reheat in a small saucepan over low heat or microwave, stirring often, until warm and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Velda Mae

                    Looks good to me. I've seen cocoa combined several times with melted chocolate for hot fudge sauce. VM, it's been very busy in my household, and I haven't had time to dig out my favorite hot fudge recipe for you as you asked up-thread. It's not in my computer files, so for me to find it requires a search by hand going through my notebooks, and for now, there is no time for that...apologies.

                  2. This has happened to my Mother. An old hot fudge sauce recipe now is crystallizing. We've made the sauce several times and it continues to crystallize. An absolute mystery! Turns out the corn syrup on our grocery shelves is made from GMO corn. GMO is genetically modified organisms. It's fake food. Corn syrup keeps the sugar from re-crystallizing. Purchase Organic corn syrup to get REAL corn syrup. Your recipe should turn out perfect.