Will The Real Fudge….

posted in: Cooking | 11

…Please Stand Up?

Ask almost any American in the United States what fudge is and I’m willing to bet my cooking mojo the answer will have the word “chocolate” in there somewhere. When I think of fudge, I think of sinful, creamy goodness that melts in your mouth. “How can this be” you ask, “when you don’t like chocolate”? Well, the answer is very simple: There is no chocolate in real fudge! None whatsoever.

Even though fudge is an American invention and the first fudge was indeed chocolate free. It consisted of little more than cream, milk, sugar and butter boiled to the softball stage and then whipped while it cooled. However, for reason, the word fudge has become synonymous with chocolate and even more specific, extra chocolatiness like say fudge brownies and chocolate fudge cakes. In the UK, the fudge is what I described the original fudge to be and is not necessarily associated with chocolate. Most of the fudge in the US is indeed chocolate fudge but other flavors can be found, particularly peanut butter fudge. Flavors other than chocolate are referred to by their flavor and chocolate fudge is just fudge.

The reason why this has happened is unknown to me but it does disturb me a bit. Maybe I’m just too anal retentive about some things but I suspect it has more to do with the fact that I hate chocolate but like fudge. The real fudge that is.

When I was looking for fudge recipes to try, every American recipe was for chocolate fudge. I finally found a British fudge recipe that sounded good so I went ahead and tried it. I ended up making it twice, once yesterday and once today. I was determined to get it right. The recipe calls for Golden Syrup which is a very British thing. I had Golden Syrup but I decided to use corn syrup instead since it is more readily available in the US and it works just as well as the Golden Syrup sometimes. I thought I had nailed it until I tried to cut it into cubes. The fudge was just too soft to be cut and remained so until we put it in the fridge. However, the taste was great.

I decided to give it another go today with the Golden Syrup this time. It made a huge difference not just in the consistency but in the color and taste as well. Yesterday’s fudge was very pale in color, looked just like condensed milk and today’s was a deep caramel color which is more like it. The two fudges tasted completely different and while yesterday’s was great, today’s, the one with the Golden Syrup, tasted even better. They were like night and day. It still needed a bit of refrigeration but nothing like yesterdays. So, my advice is, use the Golden Syrup. Although it is not easy to find and you certainly won’t find it at your local supermarket, it is not impossible to find nor is it terribly expensive. I know that Whole Foods carries it for sure and you can buy it online from Surfas and British Depot.


200ml whole milk
250g unsalted butter
1kg granulated sugar
5 tbsp Golden Syrup
400g condensed milk

Put all the ingredients in a large pan and boil on high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 115°C on a candy thermometer.

Pour into a mixing bowl and leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Whisk until the sugar crystallizes turning the mixture from toffee to fudge. It will look matte and a little grainy.

Spoon into a baking tray lined with greaseproof (parchment) paper and cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator until firm enough to cut into squares, about 1 hour. Cut into squares using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to stop from getting too soft.

Makes 1.5kg

Yes, you must weigh the ingredients and use a thermometer! For the whisking part, you will want to use, at the very least, an electric mixer. I used my electric mixer yesterday and it took about 15 minutes of whisking. I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer today and it was quicker still. I don’t even want to think about how long it would take if whisking by hand. Be careful when you are cooking the mixture, it spits with a vengeance!

The fudge is incredibly good and incredibly rich. So rich indeed that I had a difficult time eating more than once piece and I have a hell of a sweet tooth. I plan on giving some away to my family and let them deal with the expanding waistline and dentist bills!

11 Responses

  1. Mrs. W

    Isn’t non-chocolate fudge called ‘penuche?’ Sort of like pralines without the nuts…

    Congrats on no more morning sickness!

  2. kaveypie

    June, I’ve been thrown by the current American definition of fudge verses the British definition myself, in reverse…

    I expected hot fudge sauce to be simply a liquid version of the regular (non-chocolate) fudge we enjoy here and was surprised when it was chocolatey with no trace of the expected fudge taste at all. Ditto to chocolate fudge cake and fudge brownies – I still don’t really understand the difference between a regular moist chocolate cake and a chocolate fudge cake, nor between regular chocolate brownies and fudge brownies.

    In Britain there are commonly two types of fudge available/ made.

    The soft fudge, like the recipe you made, is known simply as fudge.

    There is also a brittle variety known as tablet fudge which a friend of mine makes: http://www.mamtaskitchen.com/recipe_display.php?id=10533

  3. Robyn

    Your definition of fudge makes sense. I was trying to make caramel today and while I was looking up info about how to test with cold water, I learned that fudge is thought to be originally created from a botched batch of caramel. Glad to see you’re doing better!

  4. Jeanne

    I was always taught that fudge was defined by how the sugar mixture behaved when a drop was put in cold water – when it reaches the soft ball stage it’s fudge – anything harder and it’s something else??

    Whatever the case, this looks completely glorious, just like my mom used to make!

  5. Fudge

    For me, fudge is defined by the texture, as well as the mouth-wateringly, verging on painful-to-the-teeth sweetness – wonderful!

    And although some flavours are great – good old vanilla is just fantastic.

  6. åslaug

    Finally someone who understands that “fudge” is not chocolate flavored (not that I don’t love my recipe for fudge made with Norwegian milk chocolate ;)). My first encounter with fudge, was in a little shop in York, England, where they made it in a huge pot behind a glass counter… we bought it afterwards. SO delicious. I’ll try the recipe. Corn syrup doesn’t come close to real syrup with flavor or texture!

  7. Anonymous

    June, I grew up in South Africa (which used to be a British Territory) and my Mom’s (who was British)fudge recipe is almost the same except she adds a tsp of vanilla essence to it just after you take it off the boil before putting the fudge into a container to set. Its awfully good!!!

  8. kim

    Well vanilla walnut fudge is my favorite. I dont agree that in the U.S. Fudge automatically means chocolate. It does maybe for some, but I have never been under that understanding, and I do not really like chocolate fudge, which I have called it all my life. I am from Michigan which is famous for fudge, so perhaps its a regional thing. I am strictly a vanilla fudge girl. But I will eat others. Penuche is a brown sugar fudge I believe, in response to the penuche question.

  9. Nikki Owens

    This recipe is what’s known as “Russian fudge”. My mum made it regularly when I was growing up in New Zealand. It’s what I think of when someone says “fudge”. I’ve lived in the US for a couple of decades now, & I actually can’t stand American fudge. It’s somehow not really *fudgy*; it’s too smooth and creamy, sometimes almost sticky. To me fudge should be a little drier, a little firmer, a little grainier (not super grainy, just not perfectly smooth).

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