The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? (2024)

The history of fudge

This time of year, freezing temperatures are nothing unusual in northern Michigan. But there's one kitchen that knows a recipe for keeping warm. Original Murdick's Fudge has been in operation since 1887, when it first opened its doors on Michigan's Mackinac Island.

"Fudge is Mackinac Island, synonymous with Mackinac Island," said owner Bob Benser. "I put a little piece of fudge sometimes in my coffee in the morning, a little piece of double chocolate fudge. You get the sugar, the cream cafe mocha-type flavor!"

Mackinac Island, between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas, is the self-proclaimed "Fudge Capital of America." The car-free oasis has more than a dozen fudge shops. During the summer, fudge-loving tourists (affectionately called "fudgies") flood the island.

To meet the demand each shop can make up to five hundred pounds a day!

The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? (2)

But even when temperatures and tourism cool, fudge remains a hot item.

Salie said, "Fudge seems like a natural fit for Valentine's Day."

"We all love chocolates at Valentine's Day, right?" said Benser. "So, why wouldn't you like fudge?"

That appetite for fudge dates back more than a century.

Food historian Joyce White says fudge is based on a recipe for chocolate caramels, which was very similar. "What probably happened is that there was someone in Baltimore, messed it up, or 'fadged' it," she said. "Fadge is a word that means you messed up. I fadged it, or I fudged it. Nowadays, we use a different F-word to say that, right?"

By 1888, that Baltimore recipe was passed along to a student at Vassar College (then all women) in Poughkeepsie, New York. "Women would make fudge in their dorm rooms," said White, "doing something against the rules, in the late evenings and trying to get away with something not condoned in the rulebook."

"And at the same time, men at men's colleges were out carousing?" asked Salie.

"It was a woman's way of being rebellious," said White. "Cooking in the dorm at night! Breaking every rule, in the way that was still considered lady-like."

Soon, so-called "Vassar fudge" ended up at other women's colleges, even making headlines around the country.

The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? (3)

Fast forward a century, and the recipe for fudge hasn't changed much: Sugar, milk, butter and chocolate mixed, poured onto a marble slab, and then "worked" until the mixture solidifies.

The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? (4)

At the Original Murdick's St. Ignace location, veteran fudge maker Carnel Samuels turns the 45-minute process into a 30-pound loaf of fudge.

The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? (5)

Making fudge is certainly harder than it looks, but if its history has taught us anything, it's that mistakes can be sweet any way you slice it.

The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? (6)


For more info:


Story produced by Sara Kugel. Editor: George Pozderec.

The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? (2024)

FAQs

The history of fudge: Did a mistake create a sweet treat? ›

Food historian Joyce White says fudge is based on a recipe for chocolate caramels, which was very similar. "What probably happened is that there was someone in Baltimore, messed it up, or 'fadged' it," she said. "Fadge is a word that means you messed up.

How was fudge invented by mistake? ›

Fudge creation is often attributed to a happy accident in a confectionery experiment. The story goes that a batch of caramels went awry — “fudged,” in the parlance of the time — leading to the birth of this new sweet treat. This error resulted in the soft, creamy confection we now know as fudge.

How did fudge result in something delicious? ›

It's largely speculated that, somewhere in America, a homemade batch of caramel was ”fudged” (not a pun, although very apt) and went horribly wrong leading to a result that was terribly and deliciously right.

Was fudge an accident? ›

The exact origin and inventor of this delicious confection are hotly debated. However, many believe the first batch of fudge was created by accident when American bakers “fudged” a batch of caramels. Hence the name “fudge.”

Why is Mackinac Island famous for fudge? ›

In the 1880s the Murdick family came to Mackinac Island and opened the first real candy store. Not only did the store sell candy, but it gave visitors a chance to see the sweets made right in front of them.

What does fudge mean in slang? ›

: foolish nonsense. often used interjectionally to express annoyance, disappointment, or disbelief.

What is fudge explained? ›

fudge, creamy candy made with butter, sugar, milk, and usually chocolate, cooked together and beaten to a soft, smooth texture. Fudge may be thought of as having a consistency harder than that of fondant and softer than that of hard chocolate.

What happened to fudge in the end? ›

He made several desperate attempts to retain his position but was eventually sacked from it in complete disgrace. He was replaced as Minister for Magic by Rufus Scrimgeour, but stayed in an advisory capacity and communicated news of the Second Wizarding War to the Muggle Prime Minister if Scrimgeour was unable to.

What do Americans call fudge? ›

fudge in American English

a soft candy made of butter, milk, sugar, and chocolate or other flavoring, etc.

Why does fudge fail? ›

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.

Does fudge get killed? ›

Fudge is last mentioned in the series as one of the attendees at Dumbledore's funeral. His fate during Voldemort's takeover of the Ministry during the following year is unknown.

Was fudge a coward? ›

In the case of Cornelius Fudge, his fear of Lord Voldemort led to us seeing the more cowardly side of his reign – using his influences with the Daily Prophet to try and cover up the whole thing.

Which country invented fudge? ›

Culinary legend has it that fudge was invented in America. On Valentine's Day, 1886, a confectioner and chocolate maker in Baltimore, Maryland "fudged" a batch of French caramels. The delicious result? The very first batch of "fudge" ever.

What state has the best fudge? ›

On Michigan's world-renowned Mackinac Island, the sweet aroma of fudge wafts out onto the street from four unique Ryba's Fudge Shops.

Why is it called fudge? ›

History. The term fudge is said to have originated in the 17th century from the verb fadge and means "to fit together in a clumsy manner".

Is fudge still popular? ›

A classic staple at confectioneries and tourist traps alike, fudge has been satisfying fine treat lovers around the world for nearly 200 years. With its soft, creamy texture and deeply rich flavor, there is truly nothing in the world like hand crafted Gourmet Fudge and Nougat.

What went wrong with my fudge? ›

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. Pay attention to the timetable specified in the recipe, and you'll get the hang of it after a batch or two.

What is real fudge made of? ›

Fudge is a dense, rich confection typically made with sugar, milk or cream, butter and chocolate or other flavorings. The base for fudge is boiled until it reaches the soft-ball stage (135 to 140 degrees F), then stirred or beaten as it cools to minimize the formation of sugar crystals.

Where does fudge originate from and how do you make it? ›

Fudge is a drier version of fondant,* made by boiling sugar in milk to the soft-ball stage and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy texture. Fudge is an American invention: Some food historians peg the date to February 14, 1886, but the exact origin and inventor are disputed.

How did fudge get into Hogwarts? ›

In the spring of 1995, Fudge was summoned to Hogwarts after Mr. Crouch was seen going mad and then disappeared. Fudge decided to cover up this embarrassing situation, and also refused to believe anything Crouch said, believing it to be the words of a lunatic.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated:

Views: 6026

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.