In terms of desserts, fudge is arguably one of the best sweet treats around and a timeless classic that is sure to please everyone from your grandma to your toddler. As a result, many people tend to make it at home in order to have it available at all times.
As delicious as fudge may be, some people tend to have a hard time making it. Getting the mixture to be just perfect takes a lot of patience and dedication, and it’s not always guaranteed to turn out the way you want it to.
One of the most common issues that people tend to have is having their fudge crumble. So how do you keep it from doing that?
When Your Fudge Crumbles
If you’re a fan of fudge, you know that the right consistency of it needs to be firm and smooth, not crumbly and grainy. If it isn’t, you’re doing something wrong. If you find that your fudge is crumbly and or lumpy, then chances are that it’s been overcooked.
Overcooking your fudge can happen if you forgot to keep an eye on your oven or simply set it too high. On the contrary, fudge that hasn’t been cooked long enough will become too soft.
How to Fix it
If your fudge has turned out less than spectacular, there are still some things that you can do to fix it.
If you know that the problem has been caused by overcooking, you will first want to check and make sure that the bottom of the fudge hasn’t been burnt. If it has, there isn’t much that you can do at this point and you’ll have to toss the batch.
If it’s not burnt, however, you can always re-melt the fudge by scraping it back into a saucepan and adding in just under two cups of water. Be sure not to add in too much water and that you’re tasting it as you go.
Adding water can cause the fudge to lose its flavor, so be wary of that when following these steps. If this does happen, however, you can always add more flavoring to it.
After stirring in the water on medium heat, bring your temperature up so that the fudge starts to boil. Make sure that you are scraping the sides of your pan; otherwise, you will end up with sugar crystals that will only result in making your fudge more crumbly.
After a few minutes, take it off the heat and cool.
Other Common Problems
A crumbly fudge isn’t the only issue that people tend to have when making it from scratch. Other times, they realize that their fudge isn’t setting. If this is the case, chances are that your fudge wasn’t able to reach the temperature required for it to harden.
Another reason for this is that there is too much liquid in your fudge. Although you can always go back and try to fix this, you can always leave the fudge as is and use it to pour over ice cream or cake.
Believe it or not, but the weather also has a significant effect on the way that your fudge comes out. Humidity in the air will result in some issues for your fudge. This is because this type of climate causes the fudge to take longer to boil.
Not only that, but it will turn out softer when you leave it to set.
If you simply must make fudge on a rainy day, be sure to boil your fudge at a tiny bit higher temperature than you usually would. For best results, be sure to use a candy thermometer. Fudge is incredibly particular and your cooking temperature has to be exact in order to get it to come out perfectly.
Another problem that people tend to run into when making fudge is not using the right pan. Because of the fact that you’re melting sugar, you need to use a pan that has tall sides and a durable bottom. A pan that isn’t heavy-duty will only result in burning your sugar.
Speaking of sugar, this is another reason why people have issues when making fudge. Grainy fudge, as mentioned earlier, is caused by the crystallization of sugar. In order to avoid this from happening, simply swirl your pot around and use a wet pastry brush to scrape the sides of the pan as opposed to stirring the fudge.
This will not only keep your sugar from crystallizing, but will allow the heat in the pot to distribute evenly.
Now that you know the ins and outs of making fudge, it’s time to try it out for yourself. For this recipe, you will need chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and chopped walnuts. This last ingredient is optional and can easily be swapped out for other types of nuts.
To get started, be sure that you take all of your ingredients and combine them together in a large saucepan on medium heat. Swirl the ingredients around as they melt, making sure that you get it as smooth as possible.
Again, make sure that you are scraping the sides and the bottom of the pan as often as possible to prevent sticking and crystallization.
After you’re done smoothing out your fudge, you can start getting ready to put it in the pan. A very important step to remember is that you use parchment paper over your pan when placing the fudge down to set. Otherwise, your fudge will end up sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Make sure that the parchment paper you are using is long enough that it covers the sides of the pan. If you want to take extra precautionary measures, be sure to spray the pan with cooking spray.
The fudge will then need to be placed in the fridge for about three hours so that it can set. Once it’s done, you can take it out and begin to slice. For best results, use a hot knife to slice the fudge. This way, you avoid crumbling and the slices will come out much cleaner.
During the cooking process, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. For one, start checking the temperature of your fudge about 10 minutes after you’ve started cooking or when it starts to boil. Your fudge will need to be at 235 degrees F.
Another way to check and see if the consistency of your fudge is good to go is by taking a bit of the fudge mixture and drizzling it into a glass of ice water. If it turns into a ball, it means that your fudge mixture is done.
You can always add in more flavor to your fudge by using vanilla extract, dried fruits, and more.
Fudge is a delectable treat that is sure to please everyone in your family. In order to get the perfect fudge, be sure to follow the directions in your recipe as accurately as possible. Make sure to stir your fudge delicately and do so until it’s smooth.
Otherwise, you will end up with a grainy consistency that will end up in a crumbly fudge, and who wants that?
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.