OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Fudge recipe that can survive a little fudging | Arkansas Democrat Gazette (2024)

The great thing about fudge — aside from all that chocolate, sugar and butter — is that when you fudge it up, it still turns out pretty great.

Making traditional fudge — also known as Baltimore fudge — is no easy feat.

The sought-after smooth, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture of traditional fudge is the result of precise timing and physical effort. The sugar mixture is heated to 237 to 240 degrees and then cooled to 110 before beating to create the proper texture and consistency. That smooth, creamy melt-in-your-mouth fudge texture is achieved with small sugar crystals. If the mixture is stirred too soon — when it is warmer than 110 degrees — the crystals will be large and make the fudge grainy.

And by stirring, I don't mean the lackadaisical twirling of a wooden spoon. Stirring fudge takes muscle.

Which explains the existence of easier, so-called foolproof fudge recipes. For the record, there's no such thing as a foolproof recipe. I won't disparage myself by saying I'm a fool, but I've definitely mucked up more recipes than I care to recall.

Most recently this one.

While it doesn't use the words "foolproof" or "no-fail" in its name, it does include an ingredient common to such fudge recipes: marshmallows.

I knew something was off as I poured it into the pan and noticed an unusual sheen, like it was greasy.

I'm fairly certain my mistake was cooking the mixture just a little too long. The instructions said to cook it to 234 degrees, which I did, but then I left the pan on the heat for another 30 seconds or so.

After letting the fudge cool for a bit I blotted it with a paper towel. Fortunately, it came off and didn't return. The fudge did turn out a little on the crumbly side (also the result of overheating), but it tastes fantastic and the texture — dense and creamy — is exactly what I wanted, so it's still a success in my book.

Chocolate Fudge

  • 3 cups packed light brown sugar (about 21 ounces)
  • 12 tablespoons butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt (reduce salt if using salted butter)
  • 12 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped (60% to 80% cacao)
  • 5 ounces marshmallows (about 21 regular size marshmallows)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, optional

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving overhang on two opposite sides. Generously coat foil with butter.

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, evaporated milk and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 234 degrees. Remove from heat.

Add the chocolate and marshmallows and whisk until smooth and all of the marshmallows are completely melted. The fudge will thicken to the consistency of frosting. Stir in the nuts, if using. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool completely at room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours more.

Using the foil overhang as handles, lift the fudge from the pan. Let fudge sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes, before cutting into 1-inch cubes.

Fudge will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 64 pieces.

Recipe from "Everything Chocolate: A Decadent Collection of Morning Pastries, Nostalgic Sweets, and Showstopping Desserts" from America's Test Kitchen

OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Fudge recipe that can survive a little fudging | Arkansas Democrat Gazette (2024)


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.

What would cause fudge not to harden? ›

Homemade Fudge Doesn't Always Set

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.

How do you make fudge firmer? ›

The amount of time you cook fudge directly affects its firmness. Too little time and the water won't evaporate, causing the fudge to be soft. Conversely, cook it too long and fudge won't contain enough water, making it hard with a dry, crumbly texture.

Is evaporated milk or condensed milk better for fudge? ›

Evaporated milk doesn't have sugar added. The sweetened condended milk is needed as no extra sugar is added to the fudge. If evaporated milk were used then the fudge would not be sweet enough and also would still be too soft unless the fudge is frozen.

How do you make fudge creamy and not grainy? ›

Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil, do not stir it. If you do, the sugar can crystallize, giving your fudge a gritty texture. As you beat the fudge, pay attention to color and texture. Once the fudge loses its sheen and thickens, put down your spoon.

What happens if you boil fudge too long? ›

If there is too much evaporation, when the cooking time is too long, there will not be enough water left in the fudge and it will be too hard.

What makes high quality 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).

Why did my fudge turn out like caramel? ›

Fudge can turn into caramel due to overcooking or undercooking, incorrect temperatures, or wrong ingredients.

When to stop beating fudge? ›

Once the mixture has cooled enough, use a wooden spoon or an electric hand mixer to beat the fudge until you see the very first signs of the mixture shifting from glossy to matte. Believe yourself when you think you see them! If you over-mix the fudge it will set in your pot.

How do you keep homemade fudge soft? ›

Wrap your fudge in an air-tight container. Several layers of saran wrap, vacuum seal, Tupperware should all keep the moisture locked in pretty good. A couple hours before you would like to enjoy your fudge, take it out of the freezer and allow it to thaw out on your counter.

What should fudge look like after beating? ›

The fudge is then beaten as this makes the fudge slightly crumbly rather than chewy. Beating the mixture encourages the formation of small sugar crystals, which leads to the crumbly texture. The crystals may not be noticeable in themselves but the fudge mixture will thicken and turn from shiny to matte in appearance.

What gives fudge its firm texture? ›

The key to creamy, luscious fudge is controlling crystal formation. If the sucrose (table sugar) crystals are small, the fudge will feel creamy and smooth on your tongue. But if the crystals are large, the fudge develops a crumbly, dry, or even coarse texture.

What does cream of tartar do in fudge? ›

If you add a teaspoon of Cream of Tartar to fudge this will inhibit the formation of crystals to a degree but please be aware THIS DOES NOT REPLACE THE BEATING PROCESS!

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.

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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