Have you ever made Old-Fashion Fudge? I hadn’t until this past week. And to admit something, I didn’t even really know what was involved or what it meant for something to be called “Old-Fashion Fudge”. The only fudge I’ve ever made has been those with tag lines like “3 ingredient fudge” or “5 minute fudge”. But Old-Fashion Fudge is very different from those other fudges. It uses no marshmallow fluff. No sweetened condensed milk. No powdered sugar. What it does use is time, careful monitoring of the temperature and lots of stirring. But the results are certainly worth it. Because what you get is a fudge that is much smoother and creamier than what you could ever achieve from those quick and easy recipes.
The trickiest part of this process is cooking the fudge to the right temperature (the soft ball stage) and then NOT touching it until it cools way down. Then you stir. A lot. I had to stir for about 20 minutes to get my fudge to the right consistency (it should turn from glossy to matte). But if you stir too long, the fudge will seize up on you. So pay close attention! I flavored my fudge with a little bit of coffee extract in addition to the vanilla extract because I just love the combination of chocolate and coffee. But if you prefer, you can certainly use all vanilla extract.
My motivation for attempting this Old-Fashion Fudge is thanks to Lindsay over at Love and Olive Oil. This was her Kitchen Challenge for February. As I was stirring (and stirring and stirring) my fudge, I was thinking how the last Kitchen Challenge – Saltwater Taffy – involved about 15 minutes of pulling and stretching the taffy. Realizing that both Challenges have involved some significant upper body strength, I’ve come to the conclusion that Lindsay is secretly trying to get us into shape! But sadly, all the hard work is promptly counteracted by the candy and chocolate consumption!
This would be a great treat to make for Valentine’s day!
Recipe slightly adapted from Alton Brown
- For the Fudge
- 2 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (also called baking chocolate)
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. coffee extract
- Sea salt
- Special Equipment
- Candy or instant read thermometer
- In a heavy-bottom sauce pan over medium heat, combine the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, 2 tablespoons butter, the half and half and the corn syrup. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, place a lid on your saucepan and let it boil with the lid on for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, remove the lid and attach your thermometer. Cook the fudge, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 234 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Do not stir. Just drop in the butter. Let the fudge cool to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not stir it during this time. For me, it took about 40 minutes to reach this desired temperature. But you should monitor the temperature closely as the time to cool down will depend on the type/thickness of the saucepan you used, the temperature of your kitchen, etc.
- While you are waiting for the fudge to cool, prepare your pan. Line an 8 X 8 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving some overhanging at the edges, and then spray it generously with non-stick cooking spray (alternatively, you could coat the foil with butter). Set aside.
- Once the fudge has reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit, add the extracts. Stir with a wooden spoon until the texture of the fudge turns from glossy to matte. You want to stir fairly vigorously, as this will result in a smoother final product. I had to stir for 20-25 minutes to achieve the desired consistency. Once you reach a matte consistency, quickly transfer the fudge to your prepared baking pan and spread it out evenly. Cover and refrigerate until the fudge is firm and set.
- Remove the fudge from the baking pan using the overhanging foil to lift it out. Cut the fudge into small squares. Sprinkle with sea salt. Fudge can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.
1. If you want to add chopped roasted nuts or dried fruit, stir them in quickly right before you are about to transfer the fudge to your greased 8 X 8 pan.