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? ›

We'll say it again: resist stirring.

Fudge is a lesson in chemistry—and also a lesson in patience and restraint. After the mixture raches the soft-ball stage, you want to let the fudge cool to about 115° without stirring. Potential grainy moment: If you stir your fudge before it cools to 115 ° F crystals can form.

What is the secret to perfect fudge? ›

We'll say it again: resist stirring.

Fudge is a lesson in chemistry—and also a lesson in patience and restraint. After the mixture raches the soft-ball stage, you want to let the fudge cool to about 115° without stirring. Potential grainy moment: If you stir your fudge before it cools to 115 ° F crystals can form.

How do you know when fudge is beaten enough? ›

After letting the fudge cool, it's time to beat it. It is important to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to thicken and its surface starts to look dull or matte. Now is the time to stop beating and pour the fudge into a mould.

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 makes fudge smooth? ›

For first-time candy makers: Look for recipes that call for corn syrup, marshmallows, or marshmallow crème. These ingredients prevent crystallization of sugar into large grains, so the texture of the fudge will remain smooth. Also, recipes using cream or condensed milk are less likely to curdle than regular milk.

How do you make fudge creamy and not grainy? ›

Grainy Fudge

The sugars probably crystallized, a common mistake when making candy like fudge or caramel. If the melting sugar splashes onto the sides of the pan, it turns back into crystals and causes the fudge to seize up. To avoid this issue, swirl the pan instead of stirring it with a spoon.

What not to do when making fudge? ›

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.

How to make fudge harder? ›

​Harden the fudge:​ Place your container or tins in the fridge for 2 hours, which is the time it takes for the fudge to set. Once it's hardened, cut the fudge into 12 pieces or remove it from the muffin tins. Store in the fridge or the freezer (if you don't devour it right away).

What is the best pan for fudge? ›

Secondly, the pot's material should allow for good heat distribution hence your top choice should be copper cookware or a pot with a copper core. Copper's exceptional heat conductivity offers unparalleled temperature control, an asset when working with finicky ingredients like sugar.

Why is my fudge so chewy? ›

Chewy fudge results from the excessive moisture present in the mixture, which means the fudge was not cooked to the right temperature and could not be cooked enough to release the moisture. However, take care not to overcook fudge because it will take away the moisture and leave you with hard, chewy candy.

What happens if you boil fudge too long? ›

Too cooked

The result is hard and brittle fudge. To save the fudge, put it in a saucepan with 45 to 60 ml (3 or 4 tbsp.) of 35% cream and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely melted. Then let it boil without stirring until the thermometer reaches 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

What went wrong with my 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.

How do you get fudge to soft-ball stage? ›

The soft ball stage is the point when melted sugar is 236 degrees. 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.

What is the secret to making fudge? ›

The key to making amazing fudge is in the manipulation of sugar crystals as they heat up and cool down. The unique texture of fudge comes from sugar crystals — very, very small “microcrystals” that form as sugar goes from solid to liquid (molten liquid, at that) and then back to solid again.

How to prevent sugar crystals in fudge? ›

To prevent this all from happening, keep your workstation spotlessly clean during candy making and only add chunky ingredients, like nuts or marshmallows, to your fudge when it's time to start the crystallization. Another way to control the formation is with inclusions like fat and corn syrup.

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.

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 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 cut fudge so it doesn't crumble? ›

How To Cut Fudge
  1. allow the fudge to set in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.
  2. remove the fudge from the fridge and place onto a flat chopping board.
  3. dip a large sharp flat knife in boiling water, dry it completely and cut one long slice (the heat will help the knife to glide through)
Sep 27, 2019

What is the best pan to make fudge in? ›

Secondly, the pot's material should allow for good heat distribution hence your top choice should be copper cookware or a pot with a copper core. Copper's exceptional heat conductivity offers unparalleled temperature control, an asset when working with finicky ingredients like sugar.

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