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Mike’s Hot Spicy Food Recipes

Fudge

 

Fudge Background

Fudge is a type of Western confectionery which is usually very sweet, and extremely rich. It is made by mixing sugar, butter, and milk and heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F (116 °C), and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency.

Chemistry

Fudge is a drier variant of fondant.

In forming a fondant, it is not easy to keep all vibrations and seed crystals from causing rapid crystallization to large crystals. Consequently, milkfat and corn syrup are often added. Corn syrup contains glucose, fructose (monosaccharides) and maltose (disaccharide). These sugars interact with the sucrose molecules. They help prevent premature crystallization by inhibiting sucrose crystal contact. The fat also helps inhibit rapid crystallization. Controlling the crystallization of the supersaturated sugar solution is the key to smooth fudge. Initiation of crystals before the desired time will result in fudge with fewer, larger sugar grains. The final texture will have a grainy mouthfeel rather than the smooth texture of high quality fudge.

One of the most important parts is its texture. The temperature is what separates hard caramel from fudge. The higher the peak temperature, the more sugar is dissolved, the more water is evaporated; resulting in a higher sugar to water ratio. Before the availability of cheap and accurate thermometers, cooks would use the ice water test, also known as the cold water test, to determine the saturation of the candy. Fudge is made at the "soft ball" stage which varies by altitude and ambient humidity from 235 °F (113 °C) to 240 °F (116 °C).

Some recipes call for making fudge with prepared marshmallows as the sweetener. This allows the finished confection to use the structure of the marshmallow for support instead of relying on the crystallization of the sucrose.


Learn how to make fudge

Perfect Fudge

Learn how to make smooth, creamy-yet-firm fudge.

Secrets to Success

Fudge is a delicious combination of sugar, butter, milk and flavorings such as chocolate, maple, peanut butter, white chocolate, butterscotch, walnut, or even pumpkin. The tricky part of making fudge is combining these items and cooking them properly.

The key to good fudge is to follow the directions exactly. Use an accurate candy thermometer and allow the mixture to reach the temperatures called for in the recipe before moving to the next step. Add each ingredient in the order listed by the recipe. Vigorous stirring at the wrong time (after it's reached the soft-ball stage) can actually promote crystallization of sugar into large grains. Small sugar crystals equal smooth fudge that melts on the tongue.

Method

Once the fudge reaches 240 degrees F/115 degrees C (the "soft-ball" stage), do not stir it or even shake the pan until it has cooled to about 110 degrees F/43 degrees C. When pouring the fudge from the saucepan to the serving pan, don't scrape the sides or bottom of saucepan or you may introduce unwanted sugar crystals into your finished fudge. For first-time candy makers, look for recipes that call for corn syrup, marshmallows, or marshmallow crème: these ingredients prevent crystallization of sugar into large granules, so the texture of the fudge will remain smooth. Recipes using cream or evaporated milk are less likely to curdle than regular milk.

Equipment

For best results, use a heavy, high-sided saucepan that holds about twice the volume of your candy recipe. A heavy pan is less likely to cause scorching, and the extra room helps prevent boil-overs. You will also want an accurate candy thermometer. Other factors, like the temperature of your stove, type of pan, temperature of your kitchen, and even the weather, can affect cooking times, but the candy's temperature is always the best measurement to gauge doneness.

Be Prepared

Before beginning, have all your equipment and preparation ready. Once you start making fudge, you risk ruining the batch if you stop suddenly. So before you turn on the stove, butter the pans, measure the ingredients, and test the candy thermometer. (Test the candy thermometer by boiling a pan of water, inserting the thermometer, and ensuring that it reads 212 degrees F/100 degrees C.)

Follow the directions faithfully and use good equipment: your fudge should be a sweet success every time.


Dan's Homemade Fudge

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 - 1/2 sticks) butter or margine
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 package (12 squares) Baker's semi-sweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) Jet puffed marshmallow cream
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Line 9-inch square pan with foil.

Bring sugar, butter and milk to a full rolling boil in large saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly.

Boil 4 minutes or until 234°F on candy thermometer, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme, stirring until melted.

Stir in nuts & vanilla.

Pour into pan.

Cool.


HOMEMADE FUDGE

  • 4 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. cream
  • 1/2 c. chocolate or cocoa

Boil until it forms a soft ball (238°F on a candy thermometer) when dropped in cold water.

Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon butter and beat until creamy and pour on buttered pan. Add nuts, if desired.

Cooks Note: A Candy Thermometer is recommended for best results.


HOMEMADE FUDGE

  • 5 tsp. cocoa
  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. butter (butter)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix first 4 ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan.

Place on high heat and cook until hard ball stage.

Cook for 5 minutes.

Add butter and vanilla, cook a little longer.

Remove from heat, beat until it loses its gloss. Pour into pan and let cool.


HOMEMADE FUDGE

  • 4 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. cream
  • 1/2 c. chocolate or cocoa

Boil until it forms a soft ball (238°F on a candy thermometer) when dropped in cold water.

Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon butter and beat until creamy and pour on buttered pan.

Add nuts, if desired.

Cooks Note: A Candy Thermometer is recommended for best results.


No Fail Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup marshmallow creme
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa

Directions

Grease one 8x8 inch pie pan and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the powdered sugar, milk and butter.

Mix well and stir constantly until candy thermometer reads 238 degrees F (112 degrees C).

Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, vanilla and cocoa.

Quickly stir together and pour into prepared pan.

Cool and serve.

Refrigerate in an airtight container.


Fudge

Ingredients

  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

Place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter or margarine in large microwaveable bowl.

Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minute, stirring once or twice during cooking.

Stir in nuts, if desired.

Pour into well-greased 8x8-inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set.


Million Dollar Fudge

Original Recipe Yield 2 9x9 inch pans

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
  • 2 cups marshmallow creme

Directions

Butter two 9x9 inch baking pans and set aside.

Place chocolate chips, German chocolate, marshmallow creme, and nuts into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, combine sugar, salt, butter, and evaporated milk.

Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to a boil, and cook for 6 minutes.

Pour boiling syrup over ingredients in bowl, beat until all chocolate is melted.

Pour into prepared pans.

Let stand a few hours before cutting.


Sugar Cooking

Caramel Sauce

Sugar Cooking

How do you make caramel sauce? You just melt plain ol' white sugar.

BASIC CARAMEL SAUCE

  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Add the water and sugar to a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. When the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring.

2. Cook to desired caramel color. Add butter and cream, taking care to avoid splatters as the mixture bubbles up.

3. Continue cooking and stirring until the caramel is smooth.

4. Allow the sauce to cool, and transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. The sauce can be reheated on the stove over medium-low heat or in a microwave.

Variations:

Salted Caramel Sauce: make the sauce recipe above.

When the mixture has cooled to a warm room temperature, stir in ¼ teaspoon coarse Kosher salt. Taste, and add more salt if desired.

Vanilla Caramel Sauce: make the sauce recipe above. When you remove the pan from the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Coffee Caramel Sauce: while the sugar is cooking, stir 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder into the cream and mix until dissolved.

Proceed with the sauce recipe above.

Instant espresso powder can be found in some grocery stores, specialty markets, and online.

More Ideas

You can flavor caramel with just about anything: add liqueurs, fruit juices, or extracts. I made a pineapple caramel as a topping for upside-down cake, which I wrote about in my blog.

Try making an apple cider caramel sauce for your next apple pie--you'll still need to add a thickener, like cornstarch or flour: toss the fruit with the flour and spice mixture, but use the sugar in the recipe to make a caramel sauce. Add two tablespoons of butter and a third of a cup of apple cider to the caramel in Step 5. Let it cool, and pour the sauce over the sliced apples. Toss gently and transfer the apple mixture to the crust-lined pie plate.

Before You Get Started

There are two methods for cooking sugar: "wet" and "dry." For either method, you need a perfectly clean saucepan and clean white sugar--stray crumbs of any sort can cause the caramel sauce to crystallize, become grainy, and seize up.

Dry Sugar Cooking Method

For the dry cooking method, you simply heat sugar in a heavy saucepan until it melts and begins to brown. You don't stir the pan at all--you just watch it all happen from a safe distance. The browning (caramelization) of the molten sugar happens quickly.

To help prevent the caramel from crystallizing, you can add an acid to the sugar before you begin: add about half a tablespoon of lemon juice to each cup of sugar and mix it with your hands; it should be the consistency of wet sand.

Heat the sugar over medium-high heat until it melts. You can shake the pan gently to redistribute the melting sugar, but don't stir.

When the sugar is melted and caramelized, immediately remove the pan from the heat and submerge the bottom of the pan in a water bath to stop the cooking process. (You need a heavy pan for this step, or your cookware can warp.)

Many of our recipes use the dry sugar cooking method:

Personally, I like this method better. I think that it's easier to get good results, because it gives you greater control over the degree of caramelization -- you can stop at pale gold, or take it all the way to a deep amber…or even a mahogany color, for a burnt-sugar taste.

Step 1

You can use the wet sugar cooking method for any caramel sauce recipe: simply add 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of water to every cup of sugar in your recipe.

To make the caramel, pour the water into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar and heat over medium-high heat.

You can stir the pan to dissolve the sugar, but once the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring: the agitation can promote crystallization, which will result in grainy caramel.

You can also use a lid on your pan to speed up the boiling process, but once it's boiling, leave the lid off: all of the water needs to evaporate before the sugar can start to caramelize.

Step 2

The water is boiling off and the sugar is just beginning to color.

Step 3

This is one of those tasks during which you "tie your apron strings to the stove," as one of my chef instructors used to say. You don't want to walk away, because sugar changes from golden to mahogany brown very quickly -- you need to watch it constantly once it begins to color. (It's also a good idea to have ice water nearby, just as a precaution. Sugar burns are extremely painful, so be careful when working with caramel.)

Step 4

When you get to a nice medium caramel color, pull the pan from the stove and pour the caramel into ramekins if you're using the caramel for flan.

Step 5

If you're adding other ingredients like butter or cream, now's the time to do it. It'll spit and foam and rise up the sides of the pan, so be careful.

 
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Mike’s Hot Spicy Food Recipes