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photo of fudgerecipe: Fudge
Fudge is a crystalline candy, which means that, unlike lollipops, caramels, and taffy, crystal formation is desirable in this recipe. Tiny microcrystals in fudge are what give it its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time.    What's special about fudge?

Makes about 2 pounds

Recipe Conversions

CAUTION
When making candy, the syrup gets very hot. Kids, don’t try this without the help of an adult!

  video of The Fudge House
See how Mackinac Island fudge is made at The Fudge House in San Francisco.
 
   
What Do I Need? .
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (3 1-ounce squares) Did You Know?
Fudge was invented in the United States around 100 years ago. The exact origins are disputed, but all accounts claim that the first batch of fudge was accidentally created by failing to make another type of candy—possibly caramels. Many stories also claim that fudge was invented by students at a women’s college—Vassar, Smith, or Wellesley.
3 cups sugar
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon corn syrup    Why do I add corn syrup?
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract    Why do I add vanilla?
1 cup nuts and/or dried fruit, chopped (optional)
• an 8-inch-square pan  
• waxed paper  
a large (3- to 4-quart) saucepan  
 a wooden spoon  
• a candy thermometer  
• a pastry brush  
 a marble slab (optional)  
• a spatula (optional)  
 a cutting board  
What Do I Do? Tip
Don’t try to make fudge on a rainy or humid day.
About candy making and the weather.

1. Prepare your square pan by greasing it with butter or lining it with waxed paper.

 

2. Mix together chocolate, sugar, half-and-half, corn syrup, and salt in the saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat with a wooden spoon until the chocolate melts and the mixture begins to boil.

   

3. As soon as the syrup starts to boil, stop stirring and clip the candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan, being careful not to let it touch the bottom.

Why do I need to stop stirring after the syrup begins to boil?

Share & Discuss
Recipes for "one-minute" fudge abound, often calling for condensed milk to mimic the texture of fudge. But does this technically qualify as fudge?
What do you think?

4. Let the syrup cook, undisturbed, until it reaches the soft-ball stage, about 235° F–240° F. While it cooks, wash down the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in a small amount of warm water to loosen and dissolve any sugar crystals clinging to the sides.

What is the soft-ball stage and how can I tell when I’ve reached it?
Why do I wash down the sides of the pan?

 

5. Carefully remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture rest, undisturbed. Let it cool to approximately 110° F. At this point, a slight skin should have formed on the top. Be patient—this may take a while! (Alternatively, you may pour the mixture onto a marble slab at this point and allow it to cool on the slab—this is the way that professionals make fudge.)

Why does the fudge need to cool for such a long time?

6. Add the vanilla and butter and begin to stir with a wooden spoon. (If you are adding nuts or dried fruit, add them just before the mixture completely loses its gloss.) You don’t need to use a lot of force, but you should keep stirring constantly until the fudge “sets up. You will be able to see the mixture gradually change from glossy to dull, lighten in color, and stiffen. Again, patience (and a strong arm) is needed—this change can take from 15 to 20 minutes to occur! (Be careful not to beat too long or too hard—this can result in a coarse, grainy fudge, as can stirring while the fudge is still too hot.)

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Why is it so important to keep stirring until the fudge sets?

Tip
If you're adding nuts or fruit, you may want to warm them slightly in a microwave before adding them. If they are too cold, the temperature difference may “shock” the fudge and cause it to solidify too quickly.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press it down with your hands or a greased spatula. Allow the fudge to cool for several hours at room temperature, then remove it from the pan to a cutting board and cut into squares.  
   
8. Store at room temperature in an airtight container, between layers of waxed paper.  

 

 
What Else Can I Try? .

• Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients, alter amounts and proportions, or scale the recipe up or down. Experimentation can lead to better recipes.

 

Share & Discuss
Share your own creative fudgexperiment results!
   
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