How To Make Foolproof Fudge
Making fudge is a holiday tradition for many Southerners. Many of us cut our culinary teeth at Christmastime, learning to make candy by watching our moms and grandmothers effortlessly produce a pot of velvety smooth fudge. When we tried to make it on our own, however, we realized that there is a lot more to making fudge than simply mixing sugar and chocolate. Those first pans of fudge often bore a closer resemblance to wet sand than smooth, creamy fudgy goodness. Candy making can be tricky but, just like with baking cakes and pies, all you need is a little guidance to attain success with the recipe. The Southern Living Test Kitchen has tested (and tasted!) countless pounds of fudge over the years. Here is their best advice on making creamy, foolproof fudge.
If it's a humid day (and y'all know we have those down South even in the middle of winter), the candy may have a more sugary texture. You will generally have better results if you wait for a dry day to make fudge.
Have all of your ingredients chopped, measured, and ready before you begin cooking. This is good advice to follow anytime you are cooking, not just when making candy.
Use a heavy saucepan with thick sides and bottom. It will conduct heat evenly.
Butter the inside of the saucepan before you begin. This keeps sugar from clinging to the sides of the pan and helps prevent fudge from becoming grainy.
WATCH: Mamie Eisenhower's Chocolate Fudge
An important step in making creamy fudge is to be sure sugar dissolves completely before boiling the candy mixture. Otherwise, fudge may be grainy and crumbly. To test whether or not the sugar is completely dissolved (don't just eye-ball it), dip a metal spoon into the sugar syrup mixture and press the spoon against the side of the pan. If the sugar is dissolved, you should not feel any grains of sugar on the back of the spoon.
Use a clip-on candy thermometer and always read it at eye level. Test it for accuracy by placing the thermometer in boiling water 2 minutes; it should register 212°. If not, adjust temperature given in recipe by the amount that your reading deviates from 212°. For example, if your thermometer registers 210° in boiling water, its 2° low, so you should remove candy from the heat when thermometer registers 2° below what the recipe specifies.
One last tip: Don't scrape the sides of the pan when pouring out fudge. This could also lead to grainy fudge.