Cooked Fudge Frosting Is Grainy. What Is Going Wrong?

Baking By newbiebaker1 Updated 16 Jun 2015 , 10:09pm by newbiebaker1

newbiebaker1 Posted 13 Jun 2015 , 1:38pm
post #1 of 8

I am having problems with a cooked fudge frosting.  I found a recipe online where you basically cook/simmer cream and sugar for 6 minutes and then add unsweetened chocolate, butter and vanilla.  As it cools, it becomes spreadable.  The first time I made it, it was wonderfully fudgy and creamy.  The second time I made it, as it cooled it developed a grainy texture.  I thought maybe it was because I cooled it too quickly in the fridge, so this time it let it cool at room temp and it still became grainy.  I checked the sugar and it is cane sugar (not beet sugar).  Does anyone have any ideas what the problem may be?  This frosting was SO GOOD the first time I made it, so I am really disappointed about the weird texture that I keep getting.

7 replies
-K8memphis Posted 13 Jun 2015 , 2:13pm
post #2 of 8

sugar can re-crystallize even after it is cooked down if it comes in contact with sugar crystals like from earlier in the cooking process -- if the sides of the pan and your utensils are not kept free of the crystallized sugar as you go even just a small amount can cause (recreate) the graininess -- so keep the sides of your pan cleaned down with a pastry brush or put a lid on it to make it condense a bit and wash down the sides and for example if you used a candy thermometer you want to keep it all nice & clean of any crystals -- also your stiffing utensils --

sugar restructures itself back into crystals if any stray ones are present even after melting

newbiebaker1 Posted 13 Jun 2015 , 3:03pm
post #3 of 8

The mixture seems very smooth until it starts cooling.  I wonder if some sugar crystals came from the spoon that I was cooking with when I stir the frosting during the cooling process (the recipe recommends stirring occasionally).  I'll try keeping the sides of the pot free of sugar then pouring it into a new bowl to cool and use a different spoon to stir.  

Is there any way to save the grainy frosting? 

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jun 2015 , 3:05pm
post #4 of 8

oh no! you have to eat it :)

i mean you could try & reheat it enough to remelt the sugar and see how it does

bpshirley Posted 13 Jun 2015 , 3:08pm
post #5 of 8

not really  :(  It's like making candy. There is a point of no return. Get a good candy thermometer and read up on the 7 different stages of cooked sugar.

Good luck,


newbiebaker1 Posted 13 Jun 2015 , 10:41pm
post #6 of 8

An update: I noticed that when I rubbed a bit of the frosting between my fingers the grains seemed to melt and become smooth, so I put a little of the frosting in a clean bowl and heated in the microwave for just a few seconds and it became completely smooth again.  I put it back in the fridge and didn't touch it for 30 min or so and it has gotten grainy again.  Not as bad as the first time, but still not creamy.  If the granules were sugar, I don't think they would behave this way.  I'm pretty sure that all the ingredients that I used were the same as the first time I made this frosting when turned out well.  The recipe calls for heavy cream and all I could find was heavy whipping cream.  Whipping cream has mono and digycerides, polysorbate 80 and carrageenan in addition to heavy cream.  Any chance that could be the problem?  I heated some of the frosting again it became smooth again and I am leaving it on the counter to cool to room temp to see maybe it was the rate of cooling that was the problem. The scientist in me just can't let this one go. I want to find out where I am going wrong! ;) Plus this stuff tastes SO GOOD, I really want to be able to use this recipe....

remnant3333 Posted 13 Jun 2015 , 10:55pm
post #7 of 8

I had this happen to me the last time with a chocolate fudge frosting that you cook in a pot. I have made this frosting so many times and normally it comes out perfect. I also heard that if you use butter to take the butter and rub the sides of your pot so the sides will be greasy. I have not tried this yet to see if this helps or not. I haven't made the frosting lately after it crystalized last time.

A note on the pastry brush, should you wet the brush with water then brush sides or just use pastry brush dry?  I may give my frosting recipe another try. It frustrated me when it crystallized on me so that is why I did not make it again.

newbiebaker1 Posted 16 Jun 2015 , 10:09pm
post #8 of 8

OK, so when it let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so and periodically whisked it, it was perfect!  The graininess must have had something to do with it cooling too fast in the fridge.  I have no idea why, but at least now I know what to do with this recipe.  Thanks for all the tips!

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