I recently found an old recipe for fudge, it wasn’t my own, as I have never truly enjoyed candy making. Thankfully the ingredients were simple and some research into the chemistry of fudge making gave me the tools to pass along this tasty and traditional version. In the near future I’ll post newer versions that use less traditional ingredients such as corn syrup or marshmallow creme and are less likely to fail.
I cannot emphasize enough, that you must be patient with this recipe. If you’re looking for a quick, toss together version, this is not it.
Aside from the listed ingredients you will need: a sturdy pot with a heavy bottom, a long handled wooden spoon, an accurate thermometer, an 8×8 pan, and patience. If you live at a high altitude it is important that you adjust the temperature.
To adjust for altitude, bring plain water to a boil, place your thermometer into the boiling water and record the temperature after five minutes. Take this number and subtract it from 212F or 100C. When preparing candy adjust your temperature by subtracting the difference from the temperature required in the recipe. In today’s example you’d subtract your total from 234F.
Do this in several types of weather, high and low pressure fronts may affect your reading.
Making candy, such as a fudge, is a process of melting sugar and then convincing it to reform into a more pleasing crystalline structure. Sounds a lot like chemistry, because it is. When you melt the sugar with the milk and chocolate you are creating a supersaturated solution, which is a highly unstable product. Many variables can cause the sugar to rapidly crystalize creating large and displeasing crystals. Handle the fudge gently and avoid jarring the pot or cooling it too quickly and you’ll soon somewhat soon have a panfull of delicious fudge.
- 1 cup whole milk (the fat content is important)
- 2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP butter + butter to grease the pan
- 1 tsp vanilla
Grease your 8×8 pan.
In your heavy sauce pan place the milk and chocolate over medium heat and stir until it comes to a boil. Continue stirring and allow to boil for one minute.
Add the sugar and salt, stirring slowly but constantly. Clip the thermometer to the pan and ensure the probe or tip of the thermometer is not touching the bottom. Stir slowly.
Some versions of fudge making recommend you stop stirring as soon as the syrup begins boiling and patiently await the syrup to reach 234F – 240F This is a bad, bad idea as trial #2 (not pictured) demonstrated.
Continue to stir gently until the syrup reaches 234F. If you have an electric stove you may have to continue increasing the heat to reach this temperature, with a gas stove you should be able to cook over a medium flame, but watch your thermometer carefully, if the temperature begins to hover around a specific temperature, rising one degree and cooling back, carefully increase the flame.
As soon as the temperature reaches 234F remove from the heat and set on a rack or trivet to cool until the temperature drops to 110F.
By the way this recipe is excellent for hiding in the kitchen with a book. Oh honey, can you get the kids? I’m making fudge!
Once the syrup has cooled to 110F, stir in the butter and vanilla. Stir until the chocolate begins to lose its glossy appearance and begins to feel thicker. Here’s where the patience comes into play, it could take as long as 6 or 7 minutes for this to happen. Spread it in your buttered 8×8 pan and allow to cool completely.
Cut into squares and enjoy. Store in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper.