I figured out why my key lime pie ruined. I added 1/8th of the sugar that the meringue needed, so it collapsed and the water ruined the filling. I made another one (two actually, just in case...) and they turned out perfect. BUT Now I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong with fudge! Kids make this crap all the time and I'm making batch after batch trying to get it right, and it always comes out grainy and crumbly.
I'm using a candy thermometer that I know is right because I tested it with boiling water. I add the margarine (1/4th cup), sugar (1 cup), milk (1/2 cup), and a pinch of salt. I boil to the soft ball stage 240 degrees on low heat, then remove it and mix in the peanut butter (1/2 cup) and vanilla extract ( 1/2 tsp). I stir enough to mix it in while it's a liquid.
At first, I went ahead, stirred, and poured it out and let it cool. That method left me with grainy, crumbly (relatively dry) fudge. I tried stirring it just enough to mix it up, then stop and let it sit until it cools to 110 degrees. Then I read to stir it up then and at that temperature it's already too hard to work with. It just crumbles. It's not stirrable. I have tried cooking while stirring continuously until it reaches the soft ball stage, and I also tried stirring until it boils and then stopping stirring. I should mention I wash the sides of the sautier (I've tried sautier and pot, BTW.).
What am I doing wrong? I'm ready to give up. It's really dry, crumbly, and grainy. I should mention I've tried using butter over margarine, also tried using 10 x powdered sugar over granulated sugar but it doesn't seem to matter since it melts anyway. I've tried adding a little extra milk and/ or butter (not at the same batch), but it doesn't help. All of my ingredients are measured properly, and Ive tried a few different recipes.