How to Make Fudge: 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!

How to Make Fudge: 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.

How to Make Fudge: 3 Tips for Making Your Best Fudge (2024)

FAQs

What is the secret to perfect fudge? ›

Valuable tips for successful fudge
  • Don't stir during cooking. Fudge can be cooked on the stove or in the microwave. ...
  • Avoid crystallization. During cooking, sugar crystals can stick to the sides of the pan. ...
  • Let cool before beating. After being cooked, the sugar must crystallize again to create fudge. ...
  • Beat the mixture.

Why is my 3 ingredient fudge not setting? ›

Why won't my 3 ingredient 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.

What is the secret to smooth fudge that is not gritty? ›

Once a seed crystal forms, it grows bigger and bigger as the fudge cools. A lot of big crystals in fudge makes it grainy. By letting the fudge cool without stirring, you avoid creating seed crystals.

How to make fudge more solid? ›

How do you fix fudge that is too soft? Bring the fudge back to a boil with 1–2 US tbsp (15–30 ml) of cream. If your fudge is soft or runny, it probably didn't come up to a high enough temperature while it was cooking. Put it back into the saucepan and add 1–2 US tbsp (15–30 ml) of 35% fat whipping cream.

Should you stir fudge while it's cooking? ›

Don't stir!

Once the fudge reaches soft-ball stage on the candy thermometer, remove from the heat and let the temperature drop to 110°F. Keep that spoon or spatula out of the pot until this happens. If you stir too early in the process, you'll make the sugar crystals too big and end up with grainy fudge.

What ingredient makes fudge hard? ›

Too cooked

This fudge was cooked to a temperature of 118 °C (244 °F). At this temperature, the sugar is too concentrated and there is not enough water left to form syrup around sugar crystals. The result is hard and brittle fudge.

Can you reboil fudge that hasn't set? ›

If it doesn't set, or if it sets very hard, you can add more milk and boil it again. However, even if it doesn't set, it'll usually be a nice frosting-like consistency, so I sometimes just make a cake to put under it.

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.

What is the best temperature to cook fudge? ›

Add the butter, chocolate, salt, and vanilla and bring the temperature up to 235ºF. Remove from heat. Once the mixture has cooled to 110ºF, mix it with a wooden spoon until it loses the majority of its sheen. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and let it cool fully before slicing.

How long do you boil fudge to get to soft ball stage? ›

How long does it take to make fudge:
  1. about 18 min to reach boiling.
  2. about 40 minutes to reach soft ball stage.
  3. 60 minutes to cool.
  4. 28 minutes to beat in a KitchenAid (your time for this may vary)
  5. 4 hours to set.

How to fix failed fudge? ›

Fixing Fudge
  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. ...
  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.
Jan 5, 2020

What consistency should fudge be before it sets? ›

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.

What causes fudge not to get hard? ›

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 makes fudge 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 is the best pan to make fudge in? ›

Opt for a pot that can contain approximately four times the total volume of your fudge ingredients. 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.

Why hasn't my fudge set properly? ›

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.

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!

Can you beat fudge too much? ›

Beating the cooled batter is one of the crucial steps of fudge-making, but overbeating can turn fudge hard as a rock. Pay close attention to the change in appearance and only beat the fudge until it loses its glossy sheen.

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