Fudge is a sweet confectionery that is very popular in the west. This soft candy like sweet is usually made with milk, sugar, and butter, at times flavored with cocoa. Nuts such as almonds, cashew, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc are added to the mixture to make it more rich. All the ingredients are mixed and heated to a high temperature and then beaten to make into a soft and creamy consistency. Though, there are many variations of this candy, it is the chocolate flavored recipe that is the most popular with the young and old alike. This confectionery is made as both a candy as well as hot syrup that are known as “Hot Fudge”, which is usually used as a topping for ice creams, sundaes and parfaits and even used to top s’mores. This candy has many regional variations with the ingredients changing with every recipe and Praline, Scottish Tablet, Polish Krowki, British Penuche are some variations of the confectionery.
History of Fudge Recipe
Fudge has a history that dates back to the late 19th century, when it is believed to have been invented in the US. Though there are different variations to the actual origin and inventor, there is strong belief that the recipe came into existence when accidently a batch of caramels were over heated and the sugar was allowed to crystallize. This particular confectionery is a drier version of fondant. There is documented evidence of this candy, by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, who was a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The cousin of Emily’s classmate made this rich and delicious toffee for the first time in Baltimore in the year 1886 and is supposed to have sold it for 40 cents a pound. Thereafter, word of the recipe spread with a lot of people coming up with original recipes of this popular candy. Precise cooking time, exact temperature and constant stirring of the ingredients such as milk, butter and sugar are what resulted in what we know as today’s perfect toffee.
Preparation of the Toffee
Fudge is prepared with milk, sugar, and butter. The first three ingredients are heated to a temperature of about 240 degrees F till it turns into a soft ball. Then while this soft ball starts cooling, it is beaten to a soft and creamy consistency. A pastry brush dipped in warm water is used for washing down the contents from sticking to the sides of the pan while it is cooking and this also helps in stopping sugar to crystallize on the sides. However, if these ingredients are overcooked or undercooked, then getting the right softness or consistency is difficult and the fudge will have a very soft or non-crystalline feel. The main ingredients of the recipe can be substituted with other ingredients such as corn syrup for sugar and condensed milk or marshmallow cream for milk. Other than this basic recipe, this candy is also popular when made with cocoa, which can be included with the other ingredients and heated in the same manner as the original recipe. Even nuts are added to the ingredients to give a nice rich feel and taste to the toffee.
Variations of Fudge Recipe
Fudge has many variations depending on the flavors and the extra ingredients that are included. Some popular recipes of this confectionery are Peanut Butter, Apple Peanut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Bourbon, Butterscotch, Marshmallow, etc. In fact, there is many a fudge recipe one can choose from.
Recipes Similar to Fudge Recipe
Fudge has many variations in terms of the basic recipe, as it can be flavored and colored as per ones liking. Moreover, this confectionery has many counterparts across the world, almost similar in consistency. Appearance and the ingredients used. Some popular recipes that are similar are-
Tablet – This is the closest to the original recipe of the toffee in terms of the ingredients used. Also known as butter tablet, cream tablet, butter fudge and even Swiss milk tablet, this confectionery is native to Scotland and is prepared by heating all the ingredients along with nuts and a little vanilla essence, to a soft ball stage and then allowed to crystallize, unlike the original recipe, which is beaten to a soft and creamy consistency. Condensed milk or fondant is also used as a substitute for milk in this variation of the recipe.
Krowki – This Polish version of this recipe also uses the same ingredients as the original, which includes milk or cream, butter and sugar. These ingredients are mixed together and flavored with Chocolate is another main ingredient of the Krowki. Even coffee is used for flavoring this candy, which is prepared the same way as fudge.
Penuche – This is another recipe variation that is popular in New England and southern parts of United States. The Penuche gets its tan to light brown color because of the brown sugar that is used instead of regular sugar and this brown sugar is also the reason that the candy gets a nice caramelized flavor. Just like the original fudge, penuche is also made with milk, butter and brown sugar, with an essence of vanilla and is filled with nuts such as pecans (which give texture to the candies). In the Southern United States this candy is known as the “brown sugar candy”.
Praline – This variation of the recipe is mainly made with sugar and nuts. Though the first praline (that was made in the late 17th century) was made by coating almonds with caramelized sugar, the praline we know today is dark nougat which is a sheet of caramelized sugar that covers many nuts. This dark nougat is powdered to result in the praline that is so popular today and it is generally used in cakes, ice creams, pastries, etc. There are many variations in the flavor of pralines depending on the region where it is made.
Swedish Knack, Nougat, Brittles, Indian Chikki, are all some variations of the recipe, which are generally made with sugar and nuts and in some cases even cream/milk. These are quite popular with the people of that region.
Fudge Recipe Trivia
Fudge is believed to have been the result of bungled or “fudged” caramel recipe and that is how the interjection “Oh Fudge” came about.