Jeanne’s Christmas Fudge Recipe and Tips




Tools and Ingredients Needed




What type of fudge will we be making?


Plain, ordinary, fudge (no nuts), we have some people in the family who just like the "pure" fudge.


This is the “old-fashioned” method... none of these tricks with whipped, cream, etc.



You mentioned your “tattered old” recipe... is this an old family concoction?


No, for many years, when I was a teenager, both at home and at my friend’s homes, we tried to make fudge and it never, ever, succeeded.



Seems to be a problem when a lot of these fudge recipes aren’t followed correctly?


That’s the main problem.  People are too anxious, they’re not patient...


Anyway, years later, I was reading Better Homes and Gardens, and here it said: “The Ultimate in Cooked Fudge”;  I made it for my family, and they seemed to love it, so I decided that’s going to be my recipe for fudge!



OK, what do we need to get going?


Start with a two quart saucepan.  The recipe does say a heavy one, but I find this Revere Ware pan perfectly suitable.



1.  Grease the 2 qt. sauce pan.


I have a little pad of butter (you can use shortening or margarine), and I’m going to rub it around the sides of my pan.


So, this is to stop the fudge from sticking?


Yes, because as it boils, it boils up, and you don’t want it to stick!



2.  Butter the serving pan.


... and as long as I have my towel with my butter, I may as well “butter the pan”, which I will use to pour the fudge into.



This will be the final serving pan?


Yes, I will cut the little squares of fudge out at the end and put them on a plate, or sometimes I put them in boxes as gifts.


But this pan is just about the right size... I measured it, and it’s about 7 inches square.  I won’t need that for awhile, so I’ll set that aside.



OK, so we’ve got our two pans all “greased up.”  Now what?


3.  Add 2 cups Sugar.


Right! Now it’s time to get going.  I’ve got two cups of granulated sugar... regular old sugar used for baking, (I put it in my coffee, although a lot of people don’t).


4.  Add 3/4 cup Milk.


Then, I have 3/4 cup of milk. 



5.  Add two 1 ounce squares of baking chocolate.


Now, we have two, 1 ounce squares of baking chocolate, (this is not “semi-sweet”... you wouldn’t want to eat it as it’s very bitter).



6.  Add 1 tsp. corn syrup.


Then we add a teaspoon of light (or dark) corn syrup, which is a staple you can buy in any store.  Corn syrup is extremely thick.



7.  Add a dash of salt.


Now, here’s a dash of salt... that’s kind of arbitrary...


OK, we have all the ingredients in the pan now?


That’s correct!  Now, I love my wooden spoon for making fudge!  What I’m going to do, now, is stir the ingredients.



8.  Turn on heat to medium temperature.


Do we have the burner on yet?


No, I’m going to do that right now (turns the burner temperature control on the stove to the “Medium” setting).


It’ll take a little while longer than on a higher heat, but I don’t have to worry about the fudge burning, that way (If you burn chocolate, it’s not good at all, you’ll have to throw it out).



9.  Stir continuously while the chocolate melts.



Burnt chocolate is difficult to clean up, isn’t it?


Yes! Now I’m going to stir... I’m going to continue stirring until it comes to a boil.  That takes awhile so I’ll have to just keep stirring and stirring...



What is the purpose of the stirring?


There’s no danger, then, of anything getting on the bottom of the pan (on the direct heat), and burning!  With chocolate, as I’ve said, it’s especially bad.


Now the chocolate has to melt, ... and that. once it melts, will continue heating up until it finally starts to boil, ... and so, I’m going to be standing here doing this for awhile...



After Several Minutes of Stirring...



10.  Watch for the early signs of boiling.



What should we be looking for while we stir the fudge?


Once it stops boiling, of course... by now, the chocolate is melting, and it looks like the surface will soon be breaking into bubbles.



You mean like the “bubbles” in boiling water


Yes, it starts out as little ones, ... here, there, and then, before you know it, the whole surface is bubbling!



(After about 10 Minutes of Stirring)


How does it look?


It’s starting to boil... very soon, it will bubble up quite high in the pan, (that’s when I generally turn down the heat by a notch).



Why do we need to cut the heat back at this point?


Because of the danger that it will boil over... you want to keep a nice rolling boil.



Could we call this a “crucial point” in the fudge making process?


Well, yes, but not as crucial as ... the soft ball stage, which we’ll come to later, after it’s cooked. 



11.  Insert the Candy Thermometer


I see you’re using a “candy thermometer?”


Yes, as soon as it comes to a full boil, which it’s very close to right now, I’ll put the candy thermometer in, turn down my heat control, and just let it cook away! (I won’t have to stir anymore... the recipe does say to stir “when necessary”; well, I’ve never found it really “necessary”, but once in awhile, I’ll give it a stir, ... just bring up the temperature to 234 degrees F - the “soft-ball”  stage).


By the way, there’s a marking on the candy thermometer, for various stages including the hard-ball stage and the soft-ball stage.



So, we need to watch the thermometer quite closely?


Right!  Now, I think it’s at a point where it’s boiling quite rapidly so I can put my thermometer in (I’m not going to turn down the heat just yet; I want it to be more rolling, before I actually do that.)



12.  Wait for a “rolling” boil


“Rolling” means that the bubbles are continuously coming up?


Yes, right, soon it will come to that point, and then I’ll turn down the heat, ... after that, we’ll just let it boil until we get to the soft-ball stage (234 deg. F).


While we’re waiting, can you think of any memories of a fudge batch that turned out particularly well?


Well, I made a batch for Christmas, this year, and I thought it was a good batch, as it had just the right firmness, it was creamy (not grainy), and my son Jim said it was one of my “best batches ever.”


Yet, yesterday, I made a batch, ... I don’t think I beat it long enough (these things are so important)!


And that’s hard labor, beating the fudge...



So, it’s a lot of “beating”, and a lot of getting everything together at the right time, and in the right place?


That’s right, and I suppose I got over-anxious, ... got it in the pan before it was quite ready, and so it was rather soft, ... a little too soft.



But, I imagine you don’t want to wait too long, either?


That’s true, otherwise it gets too firm.



So, it’s a matter of just hitting it “right down the middle?”


Yes, and you just can’t hit the perfect batch every time, but I try...



OK, I see a little more bubbling going on...



13.  Turn the heat down by a notch


Yes, now I can turn down my temperature a bit.



So, after it gets to a rolling boil, we turn the heat down...


Yes, so that it doesn’t boil over, and yet, continues to boil in a quite “rolling” fashion.



14.  Put very cold water in a small dish


We’re just going to have to leave our fudge there to sit, but while we’re waiting, we take our little dish, and we’re going to put cold water in it.


A little later, dropping some of the chocolate in that dish is going to be our test for the soft-ball stage.



15.  Let it sit for awhile


Looks like we’re getting near the “crucial” time now?


Yes, I have my dish of cold water ready...



Now, what is the purpose of doing the soft-ball test (with the water)?


This determines whether the fudge has reached the next stage in the process.  You let a few drops of fudge into the bowl of water, gather them together in your fingers, and if they form into a little “soft ball” in your fingers, (which kind of flattens), then you’re ready!



16.  Perform the “soft ball” test


So, now, I’m going to take the pan off the burner, and put it on a cold burner.



17.  If it’s ready, add 2 Tbsp butter


Then, I’m going to take two Tbspns of butter, and I’m just going to drop them in.


Do not stir them in!



Just let the butter land in the fudge?


Yes, and do not disturb the pan!


Even if you were to move the pan off to a rack, be very careful to not disturb it!


But, I’m just going to leave it on right there (on the burner), because air can go under the pan and help cool it.



So, we just leave the pan alone, and do not disturb  it.  Are we just in a “waiting period”, now?


Definitely, we are going to wait until it cools down to the point where I can put my hand on the bottom of the pan, and it is just comfortably warm.  At that point, we know that it’s ready to start beating.



18.  Wait about an hour while it cools


How is progress?


Well, our fudge has cooled down, now, and I can comfortably touch the bottom of the pan with my hand, (it’s very warm, but I can still hold it).



19.  Remove the thermometer


At this point, I’ll take out my thermometer, ... I don’t need that anymore!




20.  Add 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract


Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and... this is where the Elbow Grease comes in...!!



Time for beating the fudge?


That’s right, I’m going to start out a little gently, because otherwise, the butter will “splatter”, so I want to make sure it’s mixed in.



21.  Begin Beating Gently


This “beating” is a sort of tedious part of it; you can see it’s very glossy (the fudge), quite thick, and we now have to beat constantly until it gets very thick, and it starts losing that shininess.  That’s when we have to be prepared to get our serving pan out, and pour it in!


At this point, I don’t like to stand up anymore, so I’ll sit down on a chair by the stove here, wrap a towel over my knee to rest the fudge pan on, and continue beating the fudge.  (It’s just a constant beating process, as you have to just keep doing it, and doing it..., until you feel (see) it’s losing its shine).



22.  Beat the Fudge


Now, how long will this process typically take?


Several minutes, actually, and it is hard on the arm... because it’s quite thick!


Is there a very “critical” time coming up?


This is a case of just (good) judgment!  Watching it, ... watching it, ... constantly!



And how do you know when it’s time to pour?


When you can see that it’s not quite as shiny as it was before, and the finish is beginning to look dull.



I notice that you’re working harder, now... is the fudge starting to solidify?


Yes, (laughing), it’s very thick, but it’s still not quite ready... it’s still quite shiny.



23.  Keep watching closely for the “finish” to dull


So, again, it’s looking at that “finish”, and see if it’s changing from shiny to dull?


That’s right, which is why my batch yesterday was not solid enough.  I got tired, ... and I poured it too soon!



24.  Maintain your Physical Conditioning


So, physical conditioning is an essential component of fudge making?


Yes!  If I “worked out” at the gym, I probably would have no trouble whatsoever!



But, as we know, you’re not a big fan of “working out” at the gym?


No, not too big... I mean I don’t get over there too often...


(Looking at the fudge), It’s getting close... It’s not quite so shiny, it’s very thick, and there’s a “feel” to it.



25.  Pour the Fudge


It is so thick... almost like a pudding?


Yes.  OK, ... pouring is taking place right now!  You can see that it does not spread out quite easily when it’s this thick... (spreading the fudge in the pan).


It gets to the point that you have to work fast!



26.  Spread evenly with the spatula


Now, we don’t want to scrape the sides (of the pan), there are some grainy, “crystally” pieces, which we do not want in our fudge!


Oh, I think we might have a winner here...



So, you’re very careful layering it on (in the fudge pan), trying to keep it at an even thickness?


Yes, ... now it’s in the pan, and it’s already become solid!  Now, at this point, we take our sharp knife, and score it into the size pieces we’re going to want , (don’t cut in with the knife too far).  That, of course, is up to the individual...



Over the years, I’ve noticed that you’ve chosen about 1 inch squares for the size of the fudge pieces?


Yes, that’s about the size.  It’s so rich, that you really don’t want a huge piece at a time.



Now, are you just scoring the very top of the fudge surface?


That’s right, I’ll wait until it’s completely cool, before I actually “cut through” to make the final pieces for the serving plate.


(Jeanne continues scoring the entire surface of the fudge into 1 in. squares).


I’m very pleased with this batch!



Because, at this point (as you’re cutting), it “feels right?”


Yes... it feels right, ... it looks right, ... and it has a dullness to the finish!



27.  Let it Cool for awhile


Now, the bottom of the pan is still quite warm to the touch... so I’m going to let it cool, before I actually cut it into individual pieces.


(After waiting several minutes for the fudge to cool).


It looks as though things have cooled a little bit, and you’ve already done some cutting... to the serving plate?


Yes, now, (after the scoring, earlier),  I’m cutting straight through the fudge.



I notice you’re doing a sort of slow, rocking motion as you cut?


Yes, and if we get two pieces stuck together on the cutting, I just break them apart with my fingers.


There we are, the fudge is ready to serve!



28.  ENJOY!


So, we’ve made fudge from beginning to end, and I think we’re ready to sit down and enjoy some of that fudge!



"It’s been my pleasure showing you my recipe and techniques for making perfect fudge."


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