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Fudge is a creamy, semi-soft crystalline candy. It may be cooked (Soft-Ball Stage) or uncooked, but both styles must be allowed to set before cutting. Making homemade fudge is as much technique and timing as it is a recipe, so it takes experience to make it well consistently, but sometimes problems can occur.
The most popular fudge flavor is chocolate, usually dark with white becoming more popular, other flavors such as white chocolate, caramel, maple, butterscotch, and vanilla are also favorites.
SARAH SAYS: Fudge can be made plain or it may contain add-ins such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios or pecans, mini-marshmallows, raisins, dried red tart cherries or other dried fruit and orange peel. Fudge can be flavored with candy oils such as mint, lemon and orange.
Other fudge flavors can be made without chocolate. It is done by first making an Bordeaux (Opera) Fudge, essentially a vanilla base. To it, almond, cherry, rum raisin, peanut butter or cappuccino flavors and ingredients can be added.
- Appearance: chocolate color, not muddy or gray.
- Consistency: firm, not soft or syrupy, not hard, brittle, or crumbly.
- Texture: smooth, not grainy, not lumpy.
- Flavor: well-blended chocolate, not too sweet, not strong
Fantasy Fudge is a popular fudge recipe. The folklore (there are very few reliable historical references for fudge) goes something like this... "A candy company named "See's Candy" made a fortune selling wonderfully rich and fluffy fudge. It contained a "secret" ingredient known only by those who made it. The secret ingredient turned out to be marshmallows or what is now used called Marshmallow Creme available in the grocery store."
Store fudge in a cool, dark, dry place in an airtight container (tin or plastic), between layers of waxed paper or individually wrapped for about 1 to 2 weeks. Fudge stored in an air tight container at room temperature will "ripen" over the first 24 hours. That is, the texture will become creamier and more velvety.
Fudge stored in the refrigerator can last 2-3 weeks when kept in an airtight container.
Fudge left out in the open will last a couple of hours depending upon the foot traffic in the area.
It can also be frozen quite successfully for long term storage, about 3 to 6 months. Just be sure to wrap well in waxed paper, the foil, and placed in an airtight container so it doesn't absorb flavors from the freezer. Thaw fudge in its wrappers and storage container at room temperature. It will take about a day to thaw.
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Fudge is too hard and crumbly
Was cooked beyond 240 degrees F and/or kneaded too much
There's not much you can do if the fudge is overcooked or overkneaded.
Fudge is too soft
Not cooked hot enough and/or was no kneaded enough
If cooked to the proper temperature, but not kneaded enough, will firm-up, but will be sticky. Cut-in chunks and dip into tempered chocolate and use as a center for a candy. If not properly cooked, there's nothing you can do to fix it. Warm it up and use it as fudge sauce.
Fudge is grainy
Kneaded too soon
Wait until fudge is 110 degrees F which is comfortably warm to the touch.