Fudge 102 – newb’s guide to getting started (2024)

In Fudge 101wecovered a brief introduction of what is fudge, the ingredients of fudge, and the technique of making fudge. Fudge 102 is aimed at the newbie who is going to try their hand at making fudge. Now it’s getting exciting.

How long does it take to make fudge:

  • about 18 min to reach boiling
  • about 40 minutes to reach soft ball stage
  • 60 minutes to cool
  • 28 minutes to beat in a KitchenAid (your time for this may vary)
  • 4 hours to set

Tips for the fudge newb:

Check the weather. If it’s humid don’t make fudge today.

You don’tneeda candy thermometer, but the ball stage is difficult for a newb to judge correctly, and the window of time between under-cooked and over-cooked is razor-thin. Save yourself the tears and get a good, digital candy thermometer. I havethis Taylor thermometerwhich is available onAmazon.comfor $22., I picked mine up at the St. Lawrence Market and also use it for tempering chocolate.

Get everything ready before you turn on the stove. Line your pan with foil and grease it. Completely grease the pot you’ll cook the sugar in, right up to the edge. Grease the wooden spoon or beater blade.

Have a jug of cold water in the fridge, and a larger pan set on the counter to be the water bath.

Read your recipe thoroughly, make sure you understand when to stir and when not to. Understand at what point you add any extras like nuts or fruit (typically right before it’s ready to be poured into the pan).

Beware the recipe that tells you to chill the fudge to ensure it sets. Proper fudge will set after sitting at room temperature for about 4 hours.

Understand that cooking the fudge properly is the skirmish before the war. The real test of your mettle will occur when you beat the fudge, and learn to master the fine art of turning and pouring. And if it doesn’t work out it’s okay! Don’t give up.

What works for one person…

  • some recipes insist on cream, others use milk
  • some add the butter at the beginning, others add it when the vanilla is added
  • some people use a wet pastry brush to wipe away sugar crystals
  • some people only beat by hand, others use a hand mixer or stand mixer

Personally, I use 2% milk, becauseevery timeI made fudge with cream it failed. I add the butter at the beginning, and beat it using my KitchenAid. My fudge never turned out until I started using a water bath, and I am still mastering when to stop beating it.

Equipment:

  • digital candy thermometer, remember to calibrate it
  • heavy-bottom sauce pot, ideally with straight sides so you can clip thermometer onto it
  • sturdy wooden spoons (avoid metal which conducts the insane heat right into your skin)
  • hand mixer or stand mixer (unless you’re a masoch*st and you actually want to beat fudge by hand, in which case have at it)
  • 8″ square pan + one bigger pan to serve asthe cold water bath
  • tin foil

OK! I’m ready to get fudging!

Just one more thing! I talked earlier about when the thermometer hits “soft ball” (235°F to 240°F, or 112.78°C to 115.55°C) you should remove the pot from the heat immediately and place it in a cold water bath.

Not all fudge-makers use a cold bath, but I recommend it for this reason: supersaturated sugar is so hot, it continues to cook after you remove it from the heat (like taking something out of the microwave, it keeps getting hotter). If you are removing the fudge from the stove at the top of the soft ball range, which is no higher than240°F or 116°C , your fudge willcook itselfright past the optimum temperature and no wonder it’s not going to set.

Once it starts creeping up to the ideal range, I watch it like a hawk, and as soon as it’saboutto hit soft ball (it’s one or two tenths of a degree away), I take it off the stove and set it in the water bath pan. As soon as the temperature peaks I add the cold water so that way it can’t get past soft ball. Thetemperature will begin to drop and now you can’t exceed the soft ball stage. Make sense?

Let the pot sit undisturbed between 30-60 minutes, until temperature drops to 100°F or 37.77°C. Some people say you don’t need to go this low, but I’ve started aiming for this temperature after reading how cooler sugar crystals stay smaller (to avoid grainy fudge).

Then, andonly then, are you ready for the final confrontation.

Fudge 102 – newb’s guide to getting started (2024)

FAQs

How long does it take fudge to get to the softball stage? ›

about 18 min to reach boiling. about 40 minutes to reach soft ball stage. 60 minutes to cool. 28 minutes to beat in a KitchenAid (your time for this may vary)

Why didn't my fudge set hard? ›

The amount of time you cook fudge directly affects its firmness. 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.

Why won't my condensed milk fudge set? ›

The most common culprit behind unset fudge is inaccurate temperature control. If the sugar mixture hasn't reached the correct temperature, your fudge won't set. Ensure you use a reliable candy thermometer and follow temperature guidelines meticulously to achieve the desired consistency.

How long should I beat fudge for? ›

Allow the fudge mixture to rest until the temperature registers between 150°-160°. Once the desired temperature is reached, beat the ever-loving stuffing out of the fudge. Two to three minutes of hardcore mixing (by hand). This is where you earn the right to eat half of the batch.

What is the softball test for 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.

Is fudge supposed to be hard? ›

Desired texture

It should hold together well without being too hard and, above all, has to be melty and silky in your mouth. It's the size of sugar crystals that makes the knees of fudge lovers buckle…the smaller the crystals, the less they are perceived on the tongue and the more the fudge tastes smooth and creamy.

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

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.

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.

What to do if fudge won't thicken? ›

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.

How do you add moisture to fudge? ›

Cut the fudge into small pieces around one inch and put it on the plate and place each fudge with the distance in between. Keep a bowl of water inside the microwave along with the fudge to create moisture for the pieces to inhale. Next, microwave the fudge pieces for just 10 seconds.

How do you keep fudge firm? ›

You have to control two temperatures to make successful fudge: the cooking temperature AND the temperature at which the mixture cools before stirring to make it crystallize. Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

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).

Do you refrigerate fudge to set? ›

The ratio of chocolate to condensed milk needs to be just right, otherwise you might end up with fudge that is too soft or too hard. Do not freeze the fudge to set it. Best way is to just be patient for a couple hours and set it in the fridge. If your fudge hasn't set, then you've gone wrong somewhere else.

How to know when fudge is set? ›

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 do you know if candy is at soft ball stage? ›

Using a clean spoon, carefully take a little of the syrup and drop it into the bowl of cold water. Leave to cool for a moment then pick up the ball of syrup. If it's pliable, sticky and can be moulded in your fingers easily, it has reached the soft ball stage and the syrup can be used to make fudge and marzipan.

How long does sugar take to get to the hard crack stage? ›

Continue boiling, uncovered, not stirring the mixture but shaking the saucepan occasionally to distribute the heat as the mixture turns amber in about 9 minutes, then darker amber as it registers 305 degrees on the thermometer (hard-crack stage ), about 3 minutes longer.

What is the softball stage for frosting? ›

Boil the syrup rapidly, without stirring, until it reaches the soft-ball stage: A small amount of the syrup should form a soft ball when dropped in cold water or spin a long thread when dropped from the tip of a spoon (You can also use a cooking thermometer; it should read about 240 F.)

What is the hard ball stage for fudge? ›

If the candy forms thick threads when it drips from the spoon, it is in the hard ball stage or 250°—265°F. If you gather the candy mixture into a ball it will be a hard ball.

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