Published January 1, 2007.
Our test cook made 1,000 pounds of fudge during his four months of recipe testing.
Making fudge sounds simple, but the process requires skill and patience.
We wanted a traditional fudge—slightly grainy but melt-in-your-mouth creaminess.
We learned four key lessons. First, add more chocolate than traditional recipes call for. Second, precision counts. The ideal temperature for the sugar syrup is 238 degrees—at 234 degrees, the fudge is soft and gooey, while at 242 degrees, it's dry and crumbly. Third, fudge needs a quick chill; cooling the fudge right in the pot took 90 minutes. We sped the process up by dividing the chocolate, cooking half, and freezing the other half to be added with frozen butter at the end of the cooking process. We also shocked the hot pot in cool water. Finally, the process takes big muscles. While we found a process that cut the 20-minute stir the fudge originally required, our "lazy man stir" still takes some strength. Make a couple of passes around the perimeter of the pan, lift the syrup and let it fall off the spoon, and then stop for a minute so the sugar can form the small crystals that make the traditional fudge slightly grainy. After about 8 minutes, the fudge will begin to lose its shine and stiffen.list of recipes