Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2024)

Fixing Soft or Grainy Fudge

By

Elizabeth LaBau

A professional pastry chef, cookbook author, and writer, Elizabeth LaBau has published more than 600 articles on baking and candy making.

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Updated on 01/5/20

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If you're having trouble with your fudge, you're probably following a recipe for old-fashioned fudge—candy cooked to a specific temperature, cooled, then beaten until thick. Old-fashioned fudge can be fussy, especially on your first or second attempt. Some home cooks complain that their fudge is grainy, crumbly, or burnt while others complain that their fudge never sets properly. If you've encountered one of these problems, don't worry—you can probably save your fudge.

None of the following solutions or tips applies to the so-called quick fudge that involves marshmallow fluff or condensed milk. In fact, if you're nervous about trying to make old-fashioned fudge again, you should start with one of those foolproof recipes.

Fixing Fudge

Sometimes old-fashioned fudge never sets, even after hours in the refrigerator. You wait patiently, only to discover that it's still a sticky, gummy mess. But don't despair or throw out the entire pan of fudge: You can probably remedy the situation.

Fudge usually behaves this way when it's not cooked to a high enough temperature (due to oversight or a faulty candy thermometer).

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. Don't throw out the whole pan, because you may be able to melt the fudge down and try again. Of course, if your fudge has a distinctly burnt or scorched flavor, you'll have to start over with a fresh batch.

To fix soft fudge or hard fudge, simply follow these easy steps:

  1. Scrape the fudge back into a large saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups of water.
  2. Stir the fudge over low heat until it dissolves. Carefully taste the mixture, as the water probably diluted the flavor. Add more flavorings if necessary.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and bring it to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan frequently with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Do not stir the fudge.
  4. Cook it to the proper temperature specified in the recipe (most likely between 237 F and 239 F).
  5. Take it off the heat, and follow the recipe's instructions for cooling and beatingthe fudge. As you beat the candy, remember that the mixture should lose its sheen and thicken before you pour it into the pan.

Tips for Fudge Makers

  • Before you make another batch of fudge, it's a good idea to test your candy thermometer. Place it in boiling water to make sure that it registers 212F. If it doesn't, you should calibrate it or invest in a new one. Many people overcook fudge because of faulty or broken thermometers.
  • 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. If you continue to beat the fudge, it will go from “perfect” to “rock hard” in minutes.
  • If you're making a lighter fudge that doesn't involve any chocolate, you might notice that the recooked batch has a darker, brownish color, thanks to caramelized sugar crystals. This change may alarm you, but the fudge should still have a lovely, mellow flavor and silky texture.
Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2024)

FAQs

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.

How do I fix messed up fudge? ›

To fix oily, hard or grainy fudge, scoop the fudge back into a pot with about a cup of water. Cook it over low heat until the fudge dissolves. Then bring the fudge back up to the temperature specified in the recipe and follow the remaining steps. The flavor may be slightly diluted, but the texture will be improved.

Can I fix fudge that didn't set? ›

OPTION 3) Sieve together some powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and gradually work this into your unset fudge until it reaches the consistency of dough, then roll out and cut into squares, or shape into balls and then roll in powdered sugar (roll the balls in icing sugar, not yourself).

What to do with failed fudge? ›

My advice to you is to just pour it in a jar, call it something else delicious, and pretend you meant for it to be that way. The nice thing about my “failed” fudge is that it tastes absolutely delicious! A spoonful of the delectable treat will make you want for more.

What is the secret to perfect fudge? ›

Tips for Making Fudge
  • 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. ...
  • Avoid Stirring Once the Mixture Comes to a Simmer. ...
  • Beat Thoroughly.
Mar 8, 2023

How do you know when fudge is done? ›

Remove the ball from the water and check its consistency with your fingers. For perfect fudge, the syrup should form a soft ball that can be picked up, but easily flattened. If the syrup is undercooked, drops of syrup will sink to the bottom of the glass in threads or simply dissolve.

What to do if you forgot to beat fudge? ›

If you forget to beat the fudge, try heating it back up over low heat, then beat it once it's slightly softened. If you beat the fudge too soon, the crystals will be too large, and the fudge will be grainy.

What happens if you over stir fudge? ›

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.

Why won't my 3 ingredient condensed milk fudge set? ›

This often happens when the condensed milk and chocolate chip mixture isn't hot enough to start. Everything must be completely melted before it is transferred to the pan to cool. Heat in 30-second bursts in the microwave, stirring well between each to ensure everything is melting evenly.

Why won't my 2 ingredient fudge set? ›

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.

Should I cool fudge in the fridge? ›

NEVER REFRIGERATE your fudge as this will draw out the moisture and leave you with dry, crumbly fudge.

Why is my fudge like toffee? ›

If your fudge has a texture like soft toffee, it could be due to overcooking, using too much sugar or butter, or not cooking it to the right temperature.

How to fix hard fudge? ›

In the oven - wrap the fudge in foil with a tiny bit of water, perhaps 2-3 teaspoons and bake at a low temperature (120-140C or 248-284F) for 10-20 minutes, or until the fudge no longer feels/looks dried out.

Can I freeze fudge to make it set? ›

Once it's at room temperature, stick the fudge into the fridge for 1-2 hours. Lastly, to set fudge completely, put it in the freezer.

What is the soft ball stage of fudge? ›

making of fudge

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.

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.

How runny should fudge be? ›

Points to remember

You know it's ready when a small amount of the mixture dropped into a glass of cold water sets into a soft ball that you can lift out with a teaspoon and pinch between your fingers. Turn off the heat and keep stirring for 5 minutes or until the mix starts to thicken a little.

How firm should fudge be? ›

The trick to good homemade fudge is to cook the ingredients to the right temperature to form a sugar syrup, and cool the mixture properly so the texture of the fudge turns out smooth and firm, but soft enough to cut.

Should fudge be soft or crumbly? ›

To me, fudge should hold together in blocks, but when you bite into it, it should have a buttery, sweet flavour and a slightly grainy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. It should crumble and be short and snappy rather than chewy and stretchy.

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