Fruit fudge
Type Confectionery
Serving temperature Room temperature
Main ingredients Sugar, butter, milk
Variations Multiple
Food energy
(per serving)
a 100 gram serving may have over 450 calories kcal
Cookbook: Fudge  Media: Fudge

Fudge is a type of sugar candy that is made by mixing sugar, butter and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F (116 °C), and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. Fruits, nuts, chocolate, caramel, candies, sweets and other flavours are sometimes added either inside or on top. A recent trend has been to create novel flavours of fudge, giving vibrant visual appeal at the same time.

Fudge is often bought as a gift from a gift shop in tourist areas and attractions.


In a letter written in 1921 by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, she recounts the purchasing of a box of fudge for 40 cents a pound in 1886 in Baltimore, Maryland. A student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, she claimed to have made introduced it there in 1888 by selling her own 30 lb (14 kg) batch.[1][2] The diary of another student mentions making "fudges" in 1892.[3] An 1893 letter from another Vassar College student describes "fudges" as containing sugar, chocolate, milk and butter.[4] A recipe for "Fudges at Vassar" was printed in The Sun in 1895.[5] Despite describing the confections as "Vassar chocolates", the recipe given comprises sugar, milk, butter and vanilla extract.

Word of this popular confectionery spread to other women's colleges. For example, Wellesley College and Smith College have their own versions of a fudge recipe dating from the late 19th or early 20th century.[6]

Fudge-making evolved a variety of flavors and additives as it grew beyond its popularity at colleges.


In forming a fondant, it is not easy to keep all vibrations and seed crystals from causing rapid crystallization into large crystals. Consequently, milkfat and corn syrup are often added. Corn syrup contains glucose, fructose (monosaccharides), and maltose (disaccharide). These sugars interact with sucrose molecules. They help prevent premature crystallization by inhibiting sucrose crystal contact. The fat also helps inhibit rapid crystallization. Controlling the crystallization of the supersaturated sugar solution is the key to making smooth fudge. Initiation of crystals before the desired time will result in fudge with fewer, larger sugar grains. The final texture would then be grainy, a quality normally indicative of low-quality fudge.

One of the most important attributes of fudge is its texture. The end-point temperature separates hard caramel from fudge. The higher the peak temperature, the more sugar is dissolved and the more water is evaporated, resulting in a higher sugar-to-water ratio. Before the availability of cheap and accurate thermometers, cooks would use the ice water test, also known as the cold water test, to determine the saturation of the confection. Fudge is made at the "soft ball" stage, which varies by altitude and ambient humidity from 235 °F (113 °C) to 240 °F (116 °C). The heated fudge is sometimes poured onto a marble slab to be cooled and shaped.[7]

Some recipes call for making fudge with prepared marshmallows as the sweetener. This allows the finished confection to use the structure of the marshmallow for support instead of relying on the crystallization of the sucrose. This is not true fudge, and can more correctly be called imitation fudge.

Hot fudge

Hot fudge in the United States and Canada is usually considered to be a chocolate product often used as a topping for ice cream in a heated form, particularly sundaes and parfaits. It may also occasionally be used as a topping for s'mores. It is a thick, chocolate-flavored syrup (flavored with natural or artificial flavorings) similar in flavor and texture to chocolate fudge, except melted so that it can be poured.

See also

  • Toffee
  • Clotted cream - an ingredient used to make traditional hand-made fudge that is frequently used in the UK and Ireland.
  • Condensed milk
  • Fudge cookie
  • Chocolate brownie
  • Praline – a confection using similar flavors as original fudge
  • Scots tablet – Scottish confection with similar recipe
  • Krówki – Polish confection similar to fudge
  • Penuche – a type of fudge typically found in New England and the Southern United States
  • Knäck – a Swedish toffee confection
  • Barfi – an Indian type of fudge made from cooking milk and sugar into fudge consistency, additions include coconut, carrot, or made from nuts


  1. Benning, Lee Edwards (1990). Oh Fudge!: A Celebration of America's Favorite Candy (1993 ed.). New York: Owl Books. pp. 3–18. ISBN 0-8050-2546-4.
  2. Quinion, Michael. "Fudge". World Wide Words. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  3. Martin, Elma (22 December 1892). "Diary". Vassar College Digital Library. Poughkeepsie, New York, New York. p. 33. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  4. Mansfield, Adelaide (12 November 1893). "Letter". Vassar College Digital Library. Poughkeepsie, New York, USA. p. 6. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. "Fudges at Vassar". The Sun. New York, New York, USA. 23 December 1894. p. 1, col. 4. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  6. Werner, Edgar S. (1915). Werner's Readings and Recitations. 54. Edgar S. Werner and Co. p. 159. ISBN 1-145-32274-3.
  7. Reed, Anne (13 April 2016). "Tradition lives at Gulf Coast Fudge Co., North Fort Myers". news-press.com. Retrieved 18 August 2016.


  • Jones, Charlotte Foltz (1991). Mistakes That Worked. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-26246-9. 
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