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Old 12-20-2010, 02:17 AM   #1
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New to making fudge

I've just recently been introduced to the world of fudge, and it's an interesting area of expertise. I've made three batches so far, with wildly varying results in terms of consistency (almost perfect, caramel, powder), and so I need a bit of guidance here.

I like to read up on techniques and instructions before I get into the making of food, but the directions for fudge seem to vary almost as wildly as my results.

Some articles say that after bringing the fudge up to soft ball stage, you need to immediately stir it until it sets up, others say to let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes or so, until it hits 110F, before starting to stir. Some say to stir constantly while it boils, some say as soon as it starts to boil to stop stirring completely. I've seen others that tell me not to put the butter in until after soft ball stage, since apparently it covers the crystals and prevents them from dissolving, and recipes that say to lump everything together in the beginning.

Needless to say, it's very bewildering to me.

One of the recipes I tried:
Maple Cream Fudge, Recipe Maple Cream Fudge

I stirred until it reached soft ball stage (didn't lower the temp, though), and then let it rest in a cool water bath (still in the pot of course) for 10 minutes. This water bath was suggested by a friend of mine who makes fudge. Well, after the 10 minutes, I stuck my candy thermometer into it, it read about 110F, but it was about the consistency of Mack's Toffee, so I was unable to stir it at all. Basically what resulted was a slab of caramel that stays solid only as long as it's in the fridge, and melts when you pick it up.

Is there anyone who can clear this up for me?

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Old 12-20-2010, 03:30 AM   #2
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No, wish I could... but my only suggestion would be to stick with one recipe and get that one down pat before trying another. Meaning, don't change the ingredients at all but maybe mess with the methods.

I'm sure the differences in instructions are due to the different ingredients and how they interact with one another and with heat. I'm sure an expert could give a better breakdown of why one method works and another not so well.

I stick to the easy ones, like:

Original Fantasy Fudge
Kraft Foods / Yields 3 pounds

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts (optional. Both walnut and pecans are good. I use walnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring and not letting to scorch. Make sure your heat is at medium.

Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts & vanilla beat till blended.

Pour into greased or parchment lined 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

(I prefer parchment lined as it's so easy to pop out and cut into pretty squares. Here's a little parchment paper trick for you: Cut your piece to fit down into pan with paper coming up sides. Spray your baking pan with cooking spray on bottom and up sides. Immediately lay your paper down inside and press down onto cooking spray. Spray will help your paper stick in place and form to the pan better.)

Note: Can be made in a smaller pan for thicker squares.

I'm interested in what the real candy makers have to say though. It's something I should learn how to do. I guess if I can master a pie crust I can learn to master candy too!
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Old 12-20-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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Heh, I have such a short attention span, that when I try new things, I can't seem to stick to one recipe, I have to try them all! But the maple cream fudge seems like the best place to try to perfect it.



This is a video I watched, and he stirs it through the boiling process, and his fudge looks marvelous. According to the science behind fudge, however, his fudge SHOULD be hard and grainy, because of increased agitation.

I'll keep trying this recipe until I've got it. One more question though; I use REAL maple syrup, not like the stuff people put on pancakes. Should I be using that? I'm wondering if it's the sugar content difference that might have affected it.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kujikiri View Post
Heh, I have such a short attention span, that when I try new things, I can't seem to stick to one recipe, I have to try them all! But the maple cream fudge seems like the best place to try to perfect it.


This is a video I watched, and he stirs it through the boiling process, and his fudge looks marvelous. According to the science behind fudge, however, his fudge SHOULD be hard and grainy, because of increased agitation.

I'll keep trying this recipe until I've got it. One more question though; I use REAL maple syrup, not like the stuff people put on pancakes. Should I be using that? I'm wondering if it's the sugar content difference that might have affected it.
Your fudge experience sounds like mine. I will definitely give the method in the video a try. He seems to take care of the crystallization issue by making sure that the sugar never touches the sides of the pan until it is dissolved. Joy of Cooking has a step with a lid on the pot, so the condense water will wash the sugar crystals off the sides of the pot and back into the rest of the ingredients. I think the video chef's method probably works better. I suspect that stirring brings any crystals on the side of the pot into the mixture and that's why we are told not to stir.

I guess whether you use real maple syrup or maple flavoured syrup depends on where the recipe is from. Here in Quebec, we would never dream of using anything but real maple syrup in a fudge recipe. Many of us would never dream of using any maple flavoured syrup on pancakes. If I don't have real maple syrup for my pancakes, I use something that doesn't taste of maple.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:44 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'm from Manitoba; not quite as close to maple syrup as Quebec is, but I still appreciate the quality difference. I was just thinking it might have been the sugar crystallization, and the real maple syrup just didn't have enough sugar to crystallize it properly.

With the chef's method, my only problem with it is that I just like to mix madly and sugar gets everywhere; even if I kept the sugar in the middle, it would surely find its way to the sides before it was dissolved :P
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kujikiri View Post
I've just recently been introduced to the world of fudge, and it's an interesting area of expertise. I've made three batches so far, with wildly varying results in terms of consistency (almost perfect, caramel, powder), and so I need a bit of guidance here.

I like to read up on techniques and instructions before I get into the making of food, but the directions for fudge seem to vary almost as wildly as my results.

Some articles say that after bringing the fudge up to soft ball stage, you need to immediately stir it until it sets up, others say to let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes or so, until it hits 110F, before starting to stir. Some say to stir constantly while it boils, some say as soon as it starts to boil to stop stirring completely. I've seen others that tell me not to put the butter in until after soft ball stage, since apparently it covers the crystals and prevents them from dissolving, and recipes that say to lump everything together in the beginning.

Needless to say, it's very bewildering to me.

One of the recipes I tried:
Maple Cream Fudge, Recipe Maple Cream Fudge

I stirred until it reached soft ball stage (didn't lower the temp, though), and then let it rest in a cool water bath (still in the pot of course) for 10 minutes. This water bath was suggested by a friend of mine who makes fudge. Well, after the 10 minutes, I stuck my candy thermometer into it, it read about 110F, but it was about the consistency of Mack's Toffee, so I was unable to stir it at all. Basically what resulted was a slab of caramel that stays solid only as long as it's in the fridge, and melts when you pick it up.

Is there anyone who can clear this up for me?
Allow me to clear this up for you, very simply kujikiri.
My days of "iffy" and expensive mistakes with fudge are over.
I just completed my 5th batch of fudge, and it's perfect every single time without fail.

18 oz. chocolate chips (3 cups)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk.
dash of salt
1 tsp. good vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix chips and sweetened condensed milk in a glass bowl. Microwave for two minutes, pausing to stir three times in those two minutes, till chips are completely melted into the milk. Stir in salt, vanilla and nuts. Pour into a foil lined 8x8 in pan leaving enough foil to lift out candy later. Refrigerate at least two hours, lift candy out of pan, and cut into even squares.

I have used milk choc. chips, white choc. chips, butterscotch chips, dark choc. chips, and peanut butter chips. Each batch is perfect.
This is the best fudge you will ever eat, and there is none of the usual "mystery" of making fudge involved. Enjoy all the complements you will receive, and Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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You could try Zhizara's simple fudge: Needed good candy thermometer for fudge?, post #2. If I had the ingredients in the house, I would be making it right now.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:03 PM   #8
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You could try Zhizara's simple fudge: Needed good candy thermometer for fudge?, post #2. If I had the ingredients in the house, I would be making it right now.
TL, Z and I make the same recipe. We've about decided in PM to name it "No Brainer Perfect Fudge"
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
TL, Z and I make the same recipe. We've about decided in PM to name it "No Brainer Perfect Fudge"
Oh yeah, I guess it is. Blame it on the five glasses of wine

I like the name. Maybe you guys should post it as a thread.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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TL, Z and I make the same recipe. We've about decided in PM to name it "No Brainer Perfect Fudge"
i make fudge the same way. sometimes , i use butterscotch chips or mint or even peanut butter chips. people think i am a whiz . i never tell them. i am in process of making truffles using pretty much the same recipe. only difference is a whole tablespoon vanilla.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:38 PM   #11
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I've also used a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee granules with the choc. chips for delicious mocha fudge. With white chocolate chips, instead of nuts, I've added diced red and green candied cherries.......beautiful for Christmas.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:54 PM   #12
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I've also used a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee granules with the choc. chips for delicious mocha fudge. With white chocolate chips, instead of nuts, I've added diced red and green candied cherries.......beautiful for Christmas.

both of those sound delicious. specially the mocha one.
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:20 AM   #13
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Amen to the Mocha. Shopping is Thursday, and even though I already have a chocolate walnut fudge in the fridge, I'm getting peanut butter and butterscotch chips in addition to the chocolate. I really like the one that someone showed a picture of sandwiching the peanut butter/and/or butterscotch.

I'd look it up, but there are now fudge threads all over the place, all mixed up with people who want to use candy thermometers to make a 5 minute EASY dish.

I even looked up candies to try an convince these people that a candy thermometer is not needed for fudge. HA! There are so many people who DO use a candy thermometer for fudge.

I don't see why anyone would want to complicate such an easy dish, but there you go. Some people just MUST do things the hard way.

I guess they will have to ruin a couple of batches, make big messes and either quit trying, or learn their lesson and make it easy.

Meanwhile we will all be sitting there munching on our perfect fudges and getting all the compliments!!!!
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:35 PM   #14
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I have been looking for an easy fudge recipe. I mad fudge once in school and it was easy, but couldn't find the same recipe again. This recipe seems almost the same. I did not know you could use parchment and put it in the oven. I guess I never really knew what it was for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zereh View Post
No, wish I could... but my only suggestion would be to stick with one recipe and get that one down pat before trying another. Meaning, don't change the ingredients at all but maybe mess with the methods.

I'm sure the differences in instructions are due to the different ingredients and how they interact with one another and with heat. I'm sure an expert could give a better breakdown of why one method works and another not so well.

I stick to the easy ones, like:

Original Fantasy Fudge
Kraft Foods / Yields 3 pounds

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts (optional. Both walnut and pecans are good. I use walnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring and not letting to scorch. Make sure your heat is at medium.

Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts & vanilla beat till blended.

Pour into greased or parchment lined 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

(I prefer parchment lined as it's so easy to pop out and cut into pretty squares. Here's a little parchment paper trick for you: Cut your piece to fit down into pan with paper coming up sides. Spray your baking pan with cooking spray on bottom and up sides. Immediately lay your paper down inside and press down onto cooking spray. Spray will help your paper stick in place and form to the pan better.)

Note: Can be made in a smaller pan for thicker squares.

I'm interested in what the real candy makers have to say though. It's something I should learn how to do. I guess if I can master a pie crust I can learn to master candy too!
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:02 PM   #15
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Hi!
I found a great fudge recipe about a year ago and have been using it ever since. It NEVER FAILS! Amazing, right? I've had no problems when making this recipe - except that you have to clean your pots and pans fairly soon after making. I like to call it my fashionably-fast-no-fail-fudge.

Here is the recipe!!

Ingredients
First
2.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 (5-oz) can evaporated milk
1 (7.5-oz) jar marshmallow fluff
3/4 tsp salt
Second
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 (12-oz) pkg chocolate, vanilla, or peanut butter chips
Third
mini marshmallows
oreo crumbs
chocolate, vanilla, or peanut butter chips
nuts

Directions
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan and stir over a low heat until blended.
2. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, then stir constantly for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, and stir in second group of ingredients until the chips are melted.
4. Stir in desired ingredients from third section (or save for sprinkling if desired).
5. Turn into a 9-inch square pan and cool - sprinkle on top desired third ingredients in if desired.

Notes:
Yields 2.5 pounds, or one 9-inch square pan.


I hope that this helps you in your quest!
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:24 PM   #16
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That sounds easy to. If I was not lazy I would go out and get the stuff to make some.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:15 PM   #17
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That sounds easy to. If I was not lazy I would go out and get the stuff to make some.
Even easier:

1 13 oz. package of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Spray a bowl with cooking spray. Put all ingredients in the bowl. Microwave 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave (if necessary) another minute.

Add chopped walnuts if desired.

Pour mixture into sprayed pan and refrigerate about an hour.

5 minutes, tops. By spraying the bowl first, most of the fudge will get into your pan, and cleanup is easy.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
Even easier:

1 13 oz. package of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Spray a bowl with cooking spray. Put all ingredients in the bowl. Microwave 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave (if necessary) another minute.

Add chopped walnuts if desired.

Pour mixture into sprayed pan and refrigerate about an hour.

5 minutes, tops. By spraying the bowl first, most of the fudge will get into your pan, and cleanup is easy.

sounds great!!
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:24 PM   #19
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I have a wonderful recipe that is very similar to the Fantasy Fudge recipe. No nuts for us, though. It is as close to my Mom's that she used to make that I can find.

Not-so-funny story.....I was making it once about 11 o'clock at night (only time I had to devote my entire attention to it with two small boys running around). I spilled the boiling sugar on my foot and ended up with 2nd and 3rd degree burns. All my then-husband (now EX) could only ask was...."Why were you making fudge at 11 o'clock at night?"...
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:38 PM   #20
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I used to make "real" fudge with my mother(in Michigan) as a child, but tried it when I came to Colorado at 19 years old, and could not make it any more. I found out later that the altitude had something to do with my fudge not setting up. Way back then we didn't stir while it was boiling, but watched the temp. and also checked for the soft ball stage oftten (my favorite part as a child-we ate the fudge out of the water cup). I am sure that I would have trouble now making fudge even at sea level, so I too stick with the easy no fail kind.
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