Making perfect fudge

Article by: Jennifer Anderson  |  Picture by: Jen
Making perfect fudge
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Welcome in any Christmas hamper or as a treat round Halloween, fudge is a favourite for gift-giving. Learn how to avoid grainy, crystallised fudge and make batches of several different flavours to wow your family and friends.

Fudge is a delicious combination of sugar, butter, milk and flavourings such as chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, walnut or even peanut butter. The tricky part of making fudge is combining these items and cooking them properly to make a smooth, creamy, firm but pliable finished product.

Secrets to success

The primary tip for good fudge is to follow the directions exactly: confectionery is the most precise of the pastry arts. Use an accurate sugar thermometer and allow the mixture to reach the temperatures called for in the recipe before proceeding to the next step. Add each ingredient in the order listed by the recipe.
Think before you stir
Don't attempt to achieve smooth fudge with vigourous stirring after it has reached the soft-ball stage, or 115 degrees C: stirring at the wrong time can actually promote crystallisation of sugar into large grains. Small sugar crystals equal smooth fudge that melts on the tongue.
Method

Once the fudge reaches soft-ball stage (115 degrees C), do not stir it or even shake the pan until it has cooled to about 43 degrees C. When pouring the fudge from the saucepan to the tin, don't scrape the sides or bottom of saucepan or you may introduce unwanted sugar crystals into your finished fudge.
For beginners...
Look for recipes that call for cream or evaporated milk – these are less likely to curdle than regular milk.
Equipment

For best results, use a heavy, high-sided saucepan that holds about twice the volume of your fudge recipe. A heavy pan is less likely to cause scorching, and the extra room will help prevent boil-overs.

You can also save yourself a lot of frustration by having an accurate sugar thermometer before you attempt your first batch of fudge. Making sweets and confectionery is a very precise activity. External factors – the temperature of your hob, the type of pan, the temperature of your kitchen and the weather – affect cooking times, but the temperature of the fudge is always the best measurement to gauge doneness.
Be prepared

Do all your preparation and gather all your equipment before beginning; once you start making fudge, you can't stop in the middle without the risk of ruining the batch. So before you turn on the hob, you should butter the tins, measure the ingredients and test the sugar thermometer. Test the thermometer by boiling a pan of water, inserting the thermometer, and ensuring that it reads 100 degrees C.

Follow the directions faithfully and use good equipment: your fudge should be a sweet success every time.
Need fudge recipes?

Check out our Fudge recipe collection for loads of foolproof fudge recipes.
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