Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2024)

Fixing Soft or Grainy Fudge

By

Elizabeth LaBau

A professional pastry chef, cookbook author, and writer, Elizabeth LaBau has published more than 600 articles on baking and candy making.

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Updated on 01/5/20

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Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2)

If you're having trouble with your fudge, you're probably following a recipe for old-fashioned fudge—candy cooked to a specific temperature, cooled, then beaten until thick. Old-fashioned fudge can be fussy, especially on your first or second attempt. Some home cooks complain that their fudge is grainy, crumbly, or burnt while others complain that their fudge never sets properly. If you've encountered one of these problems, don't worry—you can probably save your fudge.

None of the following solutions or tips applies to the so-called quick fudge that involves marshmallow fluff or condensed milk. In fact, if you're nervous about trying to make old-fashioned fudge again, you should start with one of those foolproof recipes.

Fixing Fudge

Sometimes old-fashioned fudge never sets, even after hours in the refrigerator. You wait patiently, only to discover that it's still a sticky, gummy mess. But don't despair or throw out the entire pan of fudge: You can probably remedy the situation.

Fudge usually behaves this way when it's not cooked to a high enough temperature (due to oversight or a faulty candy thermometer).

If your fudge is tough, hard, or grainy, then you may have made one of several mistakes: You may have overcooked it, beaten it too long, or neglected to cool it to the proper temperature. Don't throw out the whole pan, because you may be able to melt the fudge down and try again. Of course, if your fudge has a distinctly burnt or scorched flavor, you'll have to start over with a fresh batch.

To fix soft fudge or hard fudge, simply follow these easy steps:

  1. Scrape the fudge back into a large saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups of water.
  2. Stir the fudge over low heat until it dissolves. Carefully taste the mixture, as the water probably diluted the flavor. Add more flavorings if necessary.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and bring it to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan frequently with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Do not stir the fudge.
  4. Cook it to the proper temperature specified in the recipe (most likely between 237 F and 239 F).
  5. Take it off the heat, and follow the recipe's instructions for cooling and beatingthe fudge. As you beat the candy, remember that the mixture should lose its sheen and thicken before you pour it into the pan.

Tips for Fudge Makers

  • Before you make another batch of fudge, it's a good idea to test your candy thermometer. Place it in boiling water to make sure that it registers 212F. If it doesn't, you should calibrate it or invest in a new one. Many people overcook fudge because of faulty or broken thermometers.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil, do not stir it. If you do, the sugar can crystallize, giving your fudge a gritty texture.
  • As you beat the fudge, pay attention to color and texture. Once the fudge loses its sheen and thickens, put down your spoon. If you continue to beat the fudge, it will go from “perfect” to “rock hard” in minutes.
  • If you're making a lighter fudge that doesn't involve any chocolate, you might notice that the recooked batch has a darker, brownish color, thanks to caramelized sugar crystals. This change may alarm you, but the fudge should still have a lovely, mellow flavor and silky texture.
Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2024)

FAQs

How do you know when fudge is beaten enough? ›

After letting the fudge cool, it's time to beat it. It is important to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to thicken and its surface starts to look dull or matte. Now is the time to stop beating and pour the fudge into a mould.

How do you fix failed fudge? ›

Fixing Fudge
  1. Scrape the fudge back into a large saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups of water.
  2. Stir the fudge over low heat until it dissolves. ...
  3. Increase the heat to medium and bring it to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan frequently with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
Jan 5, 2020

How to fix fudge that didn't set without? ›

To fix it, you can reheat the fudge mixture over low heat and continue cooking until it reaches the proper temperature. Be sure to use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature accurately. Alternatively, you can try to salvage chewy fudge by mixing it into ice cream or using it as a topping for desserts.

Was fudge made by mistake? ›

That appetite for fudge dates back more than a century. Food historian Joyce White says fudge is based on a recipe for chocolate caramels, which was very similar. "What probably happened is that there was someone in Baltimore, messed it up, or 'fadged' it," she said. "Fadge is a word that means you messed up.

What should fudge look like after beating? ›

The fudge is then beaten as this makes the fudge slightly crumbly rather than chewy. Beating the mixture encourages the formation of small sugar crystals, which leads to the crumbly texture. The crystals may not be noticeable in themselves but the fudge mixture will thicken and turn from shiny to matte in appearance.

What to do if you overcook fudge? ›

For both problems, you'll need to melt the fudge back down to allow the sugar crystals to properly dissolve or to allow the overcooked fudge to soften up again. It may seem counterintuitive to cook overcooked fudge even more, but trust us, you just need to start the fudge over from scratch.

How long to cool fudge before beating? ›

Fudge 102 – newb's guide to getting started
  1. about 18 min to reach boiling.
  2. about 40 minutes to reach soft ball stage.
  3. 60 minutes to cool.
  4. 28 minutes to beat in a KitchenAid (your time for this may vary)
  5. 4 hours to set.

Why won't my 2 ingredient fudge set? ›

The main reason is that your Fudge has not reached the optimum temperature. If your mixture only reaches 110 or 112 degrees Celsius it will always be soft. That's why we recommend investing in a sugar thermometer. Another reason your Fudge is not setting is that the ratio of liquid to sugar is too high.

Why did my fudge fail? ›

If your fudge doesn't firm up after a few hours, you either have too high an amount of liquid to sugar, or your mixture hasn't reached the soft-ball stage. Using a candy thermometer can help home cooks avoid this problem.

What happens if you don't stir fudge? ›

By letting the fudge cool without stirring, you avoid creating seed crystals. Stirring would help sucrose molecules "find" one another and start forming crystals. Stirring also introduces air, dust, and small dried bits from the walls of the saucepan—all potential seeds for crystal formation.

What temperature should fudge be cooked at? ›

Cook until the correct temperature

Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

Why did my fudge turn out like caramel? ›

Fudge can turn into caramel due to overcooking or undercooking, incorrect temperatures, or wrong ingredients.

Why won't my 3 ingredient condensed milk fudge set? ›

Why is my fudge not hardening? Typically this happens when the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk do not cook long enough in the microwave. If those two ingredients are not entirely melted, the fudge will not set up correctly while chilling in the fridge.

What do Americans call fudge? ›

Fudge is a rich, chocolate candy made with plenty of sugar, cream, and butter. Fudge is usually cut into squares and eaten in small quantities. While fudge comes in many different flavors, it's usually chocolate. In the US, another kind of fudge is smooth, melted chocolate that can be poured over the top of ice cream.

What country invented fudge? ›

Fudge's story began in the United States around the 1880s. The first documented instance of fudge being made was at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York when a student named Emelyn Battersby Hartridge heard of a fudge recipe and made 30 pounds of it for a senior auction.

How long should I beat my fudge? ›

If you beat it by hand with a wooden spoon, crystallization can take between 5 to 15 minutes. The process is much faster with an electric mixer, just 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture is ready to be poured into a pan when it has visibly thickened and lost a bit of its luster.

Can you beat fudge too much? ›

Beating the cooled batter is one of the crucial steps of fudge-making, but overbeating can turn fudge hard as a rock. Pay close attention to the change in appearance and only beat the fudge until it loses its glossy sheen.

When to stop stirring fudge? ›

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring nearly constantly until the mixture reaches a boil. Stop stirring once it reaches a boil! Use a wet brush to wash the crystals from the sides of the pot, then let the mixture boil.

How do you know when fudge is at the soft-ball stage? ›

Soft-Ball Stage

At this temperature, sugar syrup dropped into cold water will form a soft, flexible ball. If you remove the ball from water, it will flatten like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.

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