When summer vacations come to mind, fudge is usually part of the memory in some way. These days, fudge is most commonly associated with Michigan and Maryland, but great fudge can be found across the United States in a wide range of flavors. One recent addition to fudge is the creation of candy bar fudge, which takes the smooth texture of fudge and adds some crunch and extra flavors — making for a taste that’s truly the best of both worlds.
Where Was Fudge Created?
The origin of fudge has never been confirmed, but evidence suggests that it was first created in Baltimore in the 1880s. During that time, Emelyn Battersby Hartridge made notes of a classmate’s cousin producing fudge in Baltimore during that time, which was allegedly sold for 40 cents a pound in the Charm City.
What Americans know as fudge might also stem from the Scotland dessert known as tablet. Like American fudge, tablet forms a small crust on top of a firm layer of candy that’s been heated to the soft-ball stage and allowed to cool. However, tablet differs from fudge in two distinct ways: fudge has a much softer texture than the grainy tablet, and tablet’s taste usually resembles caramel or dulce de leche, while fudge is most associated with chocolate.
Where Does the Name Fudge Come From?
Like the Baltimore story, the naming of fudge might or might not be apocryphal. It’s alleged that the first instance of fudge was actually an attempt to make toffee, which must be heated to a higher temperature than fudge to produce the proper texture. As the story goes, the candy was only heated to the soft ball stage instead of the soft crack stage, which prevented the toffee from ever properly forming. As a result of the mistake, the candy maker was said to have fudged the attempt at making toffee, and the name stuck.
What Is the Soft Ball Stage?
When making fudge, you’re most concerned about the texture rather than the flavor to make true fudge. Even though chocolate is usually associated with fudge, maple, vanilla, peanut butter and other flavors are commonly made into fudge by heating milk, sugar and butter together and slowly increasing the temperature to the proper stage.
For fudge, this is commonly referred to as the soft ball stage because the syrup will form into a soft ball when it’s dropped into cold water. If you’re using a candy thermometer, this is the most accurate way to test if the fudge is at the right stage, as the soft ball stage is generally found at 235 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Do You Make Candy Bar Fudge?
When making candy bar fudge, you want to first ensure that you’re using high-quality milk, butter and sugar and blend these together over heat until it reaches the soft ball stage. At that point, you’ll remove the fudge from heat and stir in the flavors that you want to complement your favorite candy bar.
Once the fudge is smooth, that’s when it’s time to add that extra bit of candy heaven. Chop up your favorite candy bar into bite-sized pieces and press it into the fudge right before you refrigerate it. As it cools, the candy bar will set into your fudge, giving you the perfect mix of taste and texture from two great desserts.
Sometimes, everyone needs to feel like a kid again for a few minutes, and there’s nothing like bringing back those childhood memories with a fudge treat filled with your favorite flavors. When you add a candy bar to it, it’s like two treats in one!