Fail Forward Friday – Cold Fudge and Butter

I’m starting a new series on my blog – I’m calling it “Fail Forward Friday”.  I have always been a believer that there is no such thing as failure if you learn from it.  I’ve always encouraged the children (and myself) to “go for it” and to “at least try”.  After all – what’s the worst that can happen?

Utter humiliation?

I suppose that’s possible, but it rarely happens.   And the truth is that some of the most important things I’ve ever learned were a result of what some people would consider failure.

And since I’ve been accused of seeming to be too “perfect” (a claim at which everyone in my family – including myself – laughs at), I’m hoping to regularly share these “Fail Forward Friday” posts about how something didn’t go the way I wanted it to go, and how I learned from this “failure”.

Many of you realize that we are launching a new endeavor for Goat Milk Stuff – goat milk candy.  We’re already offering our goat milk caramels for sale, and I’ve turned my attention to making fudge.

The hardest part to launching any new product (for me) is figuring out the packaging and the labeling.  I’ve been making goat milk fudge for years.  But to figure out how to make it on a larger scale, what shape it will be, how to make it consistent, and how can I safely (and economically) ship it to my customers is taking a LOT more work than I thought it would.

Emery and I have been working on perfecting our fudge recipes on our new commercial equipment.  This equipment is really, really nice.  But it is also really, really different than making fudge in my kitchen for the family.  I feel like a complete newbie with this new equipment!

The other day, we were making peanut butter chocolate fudge.  Simple enough, right?


For the family, a batch of fudge uses about 3 cups of sugar.  On my new equipment, our fudge batch size uses over 8 pounds of sugar!!

Yes, pounds.  That’s a lot of fudge.

Once you’ve mixed all your ingredients and cooked them to the right temp, you have to allow the fudge to cool.  We have a new “cooling table” that circulates water through it just for this purpose.  Well, what Emery didn’t realize, was that you could cool the fudge TOO fast.  Yep, he forgot to turn the water off.  And what should have taken 10-15 minutes to cool took about 2.

And that meant that the butter didn’t have time to melt into the fudge.  So there Emery and I were with over twelve pounds of “cold” fudge, trying to work the cold butter into it.  Not happening.

It was a disaster.  I wish I had gotten pictures of it for you.  After all that work, we had the lumpiest, ugliest, butter-iest fudge you’ve ever seen.  Yep – total disaster.

But… the children, the employees, our friends, and even our chickens have been happy with that ugly, lumpy peanut butter chocolate fudge.

hewitt with fudge_blog

And no worries, I’m not letting a bad batch of fudge (no mater how big the batch was) keep me from making further attempts.

Because despite the failure, Emery learned an important lesson about fudge making. Yes, it has to cool down so you can work it, but it’s better to nudge along the cooling process than to slam it.  That was an important lesson to learn with fudge, but more importantly, it led to a discussion about how the same thing works with people.  When you’re trying to positively influence people to make a good decision, sometimes you have to nudge them in the right direction because they’re not quite ready.  Sometimes (not always) gentle prodding over a longer period is required.  Because if you push too hard and too fast, you’re left with a “cold, lumpy person” who doesn’t want to be worked.

I hope that makes sense – it did to me and Emery as we stood staring at probably the worst fudge we’d ever made. LOL

How have you failed this week?  Did you learn anything from it?




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