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The Best Old Fashioned Fudge Recipe

Shelley
Posted by Shelley on Dec 23, 2020

 

Back in the early days of The Chopping Block 20+ years ago, I was working on holiday curriculum with my fellow Chef Instructor Lisa Futterman. We thought a candy class was a no brainer, after all, who doesn’t love a little Christmas confection? We included one of America’s favorite confections fudge in the class. We were fast approaching the date of class and needed to pull together the recipes. I just assumed Lisa had a great fudge recipe, and she in turn thought I would have one. It turned out neither of us did and so we set off in search of the perfect recipe.

SY teaching Webster

We both tested a multitude of recipes, every one of them failing our taste and texture tests. We were in a panic that we didn’t have a good recipe for class. We got to the day of class, taught the class with the recipe we landed on and still weren’t satisfied with it. It took many years and many attempts to land on this one as the best recipe. Fudge is so often too sweet, to grainy or too dry and sometimes all three. If you follow these step-by-step instructions, I promise you will enjoy the results as this is an ultra-creamy and perfectly sweetened fudge.

fudge with peppermint


Before you start preparing this recipe, I want to stress the importance of a candy thermometer. It really is the key to ensuring perfect results, which is a creamy and smooth texture. You can easily order them online or call our Lincoln Square store and order one for curbside pick up.

Step 1: Prepare Pan

fudge prepared pan

Line 8 x 8 baking dish with aluminum foil. Press the foil gently but firmly against the pan until it is snug against the sides of the pan. Make sure to leave an overhang of a couple inches as this will help to get the fudge out later. Brush the foil lightly with a neutral oil like grapeseed or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

*Note I didn’t have an 8 x 8 baking dish so I started with a 9 ½ x 9 ½ inch. When I went to put the fudge in and spread it out it seemed like the fudge was going to be to thin. I moved the fudge (easily done because of the foil) to a 6 ½ x 8-inch pan and I was much happier with the thickness.

Step 2: Melt Chocolate with Half and Half

fudge chocolate

I used Ghirardelli Unsweetened chocolate for this recipe. You can easily break apart the pieces and each one is labeled with the weight, especially handy if you don’t have a scale.

Combine the 1 cup of half and half and unsweetened chocolate in 3-quart sauce pan. Heat over a low to moderate heat. Stir regularly until chocolate melts.

fudge chocolate and half and half

fudge melted chocolate

Step 3: Add dry ingredients and cook to softball stage

Measure 3 cups of granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup and ¼ teaspoon fine salt and add to the melted chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.

Place your candy thermometer on the edge of the pan, they come equipped with a clip to do this. At this point do NOT stir the chocolate mixture. This will keep your fudge from crystalizing and getting gritty. I know it is tempting to stir, especially as it begins to boil but resist this temptation.

fudge with sugar stirred in

Bring the heat to medium and cook until the thermometer reaches 238 degrees or soft ball stage.

Step 4: Gather remaining ingredients

Measure 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

fudge candy and rolling pin

I used peppermint candies but you can also use candy canes. You can also omit them all together if you prefer. My only complaint about this recipe is that the candy dissolves a little on top of the fudge. Not sure if any of you have tips on how to keep that from happening, but it seems unavoidable to me.

I crushed about 20 pieces of candy by putting them in a Ziploc baggie and whacking it with my rolling pin. Feel free to use a meat mallet or hammer, it might be better for your rolling pin!

I sifted the fine particles out and just used ½ cup of the nicest pieces to top the fudge. Save the fine pieces to stir into your hot tea or cocoa!

fudge crushed candy

Step 5: Cool fudge mixture

Once the fudge reaches 238 degrees turn it off and quickly stir in vanilla and butter. Stir till just combined, do not overmix.

Here comes the hard part, well at least for me. It requires both patience and regular attention. You have turned the heat off and you should now remove it completely from the stove. Let it cool until it reaches 110 degrees. No stirring, just let it sit uncovered.

fudge cooled to 110

Step 6: Stir the fudge and place in the baking dish

This part requires a little muscle. Using stiff spatula or wooden spoon stir the cooled fudge until it just starts to lose its shine and gets stiff. If it gets too stiff to stir you can actually knead it a little bit by hand, use rubber gloves to do that.

fudge stiff with spoon

fudge in pan

Move the fudge into the prepared pan. I like to spread it out and smooth it with my hands since the fudge is so stiff.

fudge spreading

*This is where I switched to a smaller pan.

Top with peppermint candies and press gently into fudge and let cool completely.

fudge with peppermint on top

Step 7: Unmold and cut fudge

Put a sheet pan on top of the fudge and turn over.

fudge upside down

Remove the foil and turn over onto another sheet pan.

fudge right side up

I like to cut the fudge with a bench scraper but a knife will work as well. You just might want to take it off your sheet pan so you don’t ruin it.

fudge cut

Keep covered in a sealed container or in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer.

fudge in tin

Old Fashioned Chocolate-Peppermint Fudge

Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe

Yield: One 8-inch pan; 24 pieces

Active time: 35 minutes

Start to finish: 2 hours, 25 minutes

 

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup half & half

3 cups granulated sugar

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup lightly crushed peppermint candies

 

  1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8”x8” baking dish with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil extends over the sides of the dish by about 2”; this will make it much easier to remove the fudge from the pan. Lightly butter the top of the foil or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the unsweetened chocolate and half and half. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Slowly add the sugar mixture to the pot while stirring constantly.
  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot, and continue to cook the mixture on medium heat until the thermometer reads 238° (soft ball stage). Do not stir during this process to avoid recrystallization.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the butter. 
  6. Allow the fudge mixture to cool until it reaches 110°. Stir the mixture vigorously until it thickens and just begins to lose its shine. Immediately spread the fudge into the prepared baking pan, and sprinkle the crushed peppermint pieces on top. Press the peppermint pieces slightly into the surface of the fudge.
  7. Allow the fudge to cool completely to room temperature. Use the foil to lift the fudge out of the pan. Cut the fudge into bite size pieces using a sharp knife, and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

*This is a peppermint fudge recipe but feel free to just leave the peppermint off if you want some straight up fudge.

I hope you enjoy this amazing recipe, and that it brings a little holiday cheer to you and yours. We are not offering any candy classes this season, but we hope you enjoy some of our seasonal classes such as:

Stop by for your candy thermometer by scheduling a private shopping experience or curbside pickup.

See our class calendar

 

Yield: 1 8-inch pan, 24 pieces
Author: Shelley Young
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Prep time: 35 MinCook time: 10 Mininactive time: 2 HourTotal time: 2 H & 45 M

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lightly crushed peppermint candies

Instructions

  1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8”x8” baking dish with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil extends over the sides of the dish by about 2”; this will make it much easier to remove the fudge from the pan. Lightly butter the top of the foil or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the unsweetened chocolate and half and half. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Slowly add the sugar mixture to the pot while stirring constantly.
  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot, and continue to cook the mixture on medium heat until the thermometer reads 238° (soft ball stage). Do not stir during this process to avoid recrystallization.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the butter.
  6. Allow the fudge mixture to cool until it reaches 110°. Stir the mixture vigorously until it thickens and just begins to lose its shine. Immediately spread the fudge into the prepared baking pan, and sprinkle the crushed peppermint pieces on top. Press the peppermint pieces slightly into the surface of the fudge.
  7. Allow the fudge to cool completely to room temperature. Use the foil to lift the fudge out of the pan. Cut the fudge into bite size pieces using a sharp knife, and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Topics: fudge, chocolate, baking, Recipes, holiday entertaining, peppermint

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