How To Make Fudge
One of the problems when making fudge is ensuring that the sugar crystals don’t get in the end product, as that will make the fudge grainy instead of the smooth, creamy, sweet delight that it should be. Using two forms of sugar (sugar and golden syrup or corn syrup) in the recipe can help stop some of the crystals from forming.
In addition, you need to brush any crystals off the side of the pan with a damp pastry brush, ensuring you are brushing the crystals away from the fudge. You also can oil the side of the pan to stop the crystals forming on the side. I prefer to use the pastry brush method.
When you start melting the milk, butter and sugar, bring it up to 238F slowly, and keep the lid on the pan for the first few minutes – the steam will clear away any sugar crystals that way. Once the fudge has reached the correct temperature of 238F (and this temperature does change depending on altitude – more on that below), you need to pour the fudge – without scraping the sides or bottom – into a clean bowl. The fudge should now be left to cool to 110F.
It then needs stirring or paddling. Using a wooden spoon, beat the fudge furiously until it loses the glossy look and starts to thicken – it’ll take about 10-15 minutes. This stage is crucial to get right to end up with the correct texture for your fudge. If you haven’t beaten it enough, it won’t set properly; it will just be glutinous mass with more of a toffee finish than a fudge finish. If you overdo it, will be too crumbly and too crystalised.
Using a thermometer is essential in making a good fudge. By using temperature, you are able to tell when enough water has boiled away to leave you with the correct ratio of sugar to water. For fudge, you want 85% sugar. Too much water and the fudge will be too soft; too little and the fudge will be too hard.
The correct temperature is actually 26F above boiling point – and that should be your basis rather than using 238F, as boiling changes depending on altitude. The higher you are, the lower the temperature is for boiling point.
Another point to remember is the heating rate accelerates during cooking. Once the sugar concentration passes 80% (ie only 20% water), the temperature will rise far faster. So have a bowl of iced water ready to place the bottom of the pan into once you have reached 26F above boiling point to stop the heating process.
This How To section allows you to understand the basics of chocolate, baking and using some of the basic ingredients, leaving you feeling confident (and possibly a little more sexy!) in the kitchen.