3 Tips for Making Your Best Fudge (2024)

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What’s not to love about fudge? It melts in your mouth, coating your tongue in rich and creamy sweetness.

However, making meltaway fudge isn’t always easy! If you don’t understand the proper techniques, you may end up with a grainy or crumbly rather than creamy confection.

If you want to get a better hold on making fudge, join us as we dive into some of the culinary science that pastry arts students can explore during their time at Escoffier.

How to Make Fudge

The simplest fudge recipes start with three ingredients found in many types of confections: sugar, butter, and milk. However, some recipes contain variations on these ingredients, like swapping sweetened condensed milk for the milk and sugar, or semi-sweet chocolate chips for some of the sugar.

Many types of fudge also contain additional ingredients like chocolate, vanilla, or maple syrup, as well as mix-ins such as nuts and marshmallows.

No matter the exact ingredients you use, the fudge-making process will be similar. First, you’ll heat the ingredients to dissolve the sugar and create a hom*ogenous mixture. Next, you’ll cook the mixture until it thickens. Finally, you’ll remove the fudge from the heat, allow it to cool, and then mix thoroughly.

Tips for Making Fudge

Smooth, creamy, and decadent fudge relies on proper technique, so keep these tips in mind when whipping up your next batch.

1. Monitor the Temperature with a Candy Thermometer

If you end up with soft fudge that turns into a puddle in your hands or hard fudge that is a bit reminiscent of a crunchy candy, improper temperature is likely to blame. If you don’t heat your fudge to a high enough temperature, you’ll end up with a soft product. And if you heat the mixture too much, your fudge may be harder than you’d like.

When you’re cooking your fudge over the stove, you should aim for a maximum temperature between 234-237ºF. Yes, that’s only a three-degree range! In order to ensure you remove your fudge from the heat as soon as it reaches this temperature, you should monitor the mixture with a candy thermometer.

2. Avoid Stirring Once the Mixture Comes to a Simmer

Another key part of a successful fudge texture is when you stir the mixture. Stirring the sugar and milk during the initial stages of cooking allows the sugar to dissolve. However, once the mixture comes to a boil, it’s time to put the spoon down.

If you continue stirring once the mixture is simmering, you are encouraging the development of sugar crystals. While crystallization is the goal if you’re making hard candy, crunchy sugar bits can quickly ruin a fudge’s silky smooth texture.

3. Beat Thoroughly

While you shouldn’t mix the fudge mixture when it’s hot, you should beat the mixture once it has been removed from the heat and cooled.

Once again, turn to your candy thermometer. When the mixture has cooled to 110ºF (but not a moment before), it’s time to pick up a wooden spoon and begin stirring. Continue mixing the fudge until it has lost most of its sheen, about 5–10 minutes.

If you mix the fudge when it’s too hot, the sugar particles may lump together and form discernable crystals. Therefore, monitoring the temperature is key!

3 Tips for Making Your Best Fudge (1)

Proper technique is an essential part of creating silky smooth fudge.

Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Keep the previous fudge tips in mind as you follow this recipe for chocolate fudge.

Ingredients

  • 28 oz granulated sugar
  • 12 oz whole milk
  • 6 oz corn syrup
  • 4 oz butter
  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Prepare an 8×8 pan by lining it with butter-coated parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Place the sugar, milk, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and stir well. Once the mixture begins to boil, stop stirring. Monitor the mixture and watch for it to reach 230ºF.
  3. Add the butter, chocolate, salt, and vanilla and bring the temperature up to 235ºF. Remove from heat.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled to 110ºF, mix it with a wooden spoon until it loses the majority of its sheen.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and let it cool fully before slicing.

Continue Improving Your Pastry Skills

Now that you know some of the tips for making fudge, it’s time to think about what other confections and baked goods you’d like to create! Whether you want to make a chewy yet tender loaf of bread or decorate a cake with smooth fondant and intricately piped roses, understanding the technique behind successful dishes is key.

Pastry school can introduce you to both the science and art involved in creating some of your favorite sweet treats and savory baked goods. By working with talented chef instructors, you can explore inside tricks and tips and receive individualized feedback as you practice creating new dishes.

By the time students graduate from , many find they are ready to move toward career goals like starting a bakery or beginning a career as a cake decorator. If you’d like to take the next step to accomplish your pastry dreams, contact us for more information.

To learn more about baking & pastry, check these out next:

  • Cake Decorating Tips: How to Choose the Right Pastry Bag
  • What Is It Like to Be a Pastry Chef?
  • 6 Advanced Baking Techniques Every Pastry Chef Should Know

This article was originally published on December 25, 2016, and has since been updated.

*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors such as geographical region or previous experience.

3 Tips for Making Your Best Fudge (2024)

FAQs

3 Tips for Making Your Best Fudge? ›

You have to control two temperatures to make successful fudge: the cooking temperature AND the temperature at which the mixture cools before stirring to make it crystallize. Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

What is the secret to making good fudge? ›

You have to control two temperatures to make successful fudge: the cooking temperature AND the temperature at which the mixture cools before stirring to make it crystallize. Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

What is the key to successful non grainy fudge? ›

While you ultimately want crystals to form, it's important that they don't form too early. The key to successful, nongrainy fudge is in the cooling, not the cooking.

How do you beat fudge? ›

When the fudge cools to 110 degrees F/43 degrees C, beat the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until it's no longer glossy. Then you can stir in the nuts, or any other extra flavorings, and transfer it to the cooling pan. Adding Butter to Fudge | Photo by Meredith.

Why is my 3 ingredient fudge not setting? ›

The main reason is that your Fudge has not reached the optimum temperature. If your mixture only reaches 110 or 112 degrees Celsius it will always be soft. That's why we recommend investing in a sugar thermometer. Another reason your Fudge is not setting is that the ratio of liquid to sugar is too high.

How to make fudge creamy and not grainy? ›

Grainy Fudge

To avoid this issue, swirl the pan instead of stirring it with a spoon. You can use a wet pastry brush to wipe down any sugar that sticks to the sides of the pot.

What does cream of tartar do in fudge? ›

Cream of tartar is used in caramel sauces and fudge to help prevent the sugar from crystallizing while cooking. It also prevents cooling sugars from forming brittle crystals, this is why it's the secret ingredient in snickerdoodles!

What gives fudge its firm texture? ›

Cooking. Cooking is necessary to dissolve sugar crystals and to evaporate part of the water in the cream. The length of this step has a direct impact on the firmness of the fudge. As water gradually evaporates, sugar is concentrated and the temperature of the mixture rises above 100°C (212°F).

What makes fudge firmer? ›

Freezing your fudge is the key to a hardened result.

How do you get fudge to soft ball stage? ›

Without a candy thermometer, you can achieve this with what is called a “cold water method”. Fill a small glass with ice and cover it with water until it is ice cold.. Drop your hot sugar syrup into the ice water. When it clumps into a soft ball, it is the correct temperature.

Can you mess up fudge? ›

If your fudge is tough, hard, or grainy, then you may have made one of several mistakes: You may have overcooked it, beaten it too long, or neglected to cool it to the proper temperature.

What is the ball method fudge? ›

According to most recipes, the ingredients of fudge are cooked to what is termed in kitchen parlance the soft ball stage, that point between 234 and 240 °F (112 and 115 °C) at which a small ball of the candy dropped in ice water neither disintegrates nor flattens when picked up with the fingers.

Can you redo fudge that didn't set? ›

OPTION 4) If you think the reason it didn't set was because you didn't heat it to the right temperature, you could try putting it back into the pan and re-cooking.

Can I reboil fudge that didn't set? ›

How can you fix soft fudge? Put it in a microwave safe bowl that is large enough that it won't boil over. Reheat it to the boiling point and cook for about 3 more minutes. Then you can beat some powdered sugar into it if this doesn't make it set.

How long should I beat fudge for? ›

Allow the fudge mixture to rest until the temperature registers between 150°-160°. Once the desired temperature is reached, beat the ever-loving stuffing out of the fudge. Two to three minutes of hardcore mixing (by hand). This is where you earn the right to eat half of the batch.

What causes fudge not to get hard? ›

However, homemade fudge doesn't always set up into a semi-firm, melt-in-your-mouth confection. If your fudge doesn't firm up after a few hours, you either have too high an amount of liquid to sugar, or your mixture hasn't reached the soft-ball stage. Using a candy thermometer can help home cooks avoid this problem.

Why does my fudge crumble when I cut it? ›

The ingredients for fudge are combined and cooked to 234 degrees, cooled to 110 degrees without stirring, then beaten until creamy. Candy that isn't cooked long enough will end up too soft; overcooking makes fudge crumbly or hard.

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