Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fudge Recipe Round-Up: National Fudge Day

National Fudge Day: What a great day to celebrate! My Aunt Annie made the best Fudge in the world, but now that I know more about candy nomenclature, I think she really made truffles. They were dark chocolate balls rolled in cocoa. I'll always remember her truffles as fudge.

However, I had my first taste of the 'real' fudge down the shore in Atlantic City. Fudge was sold along with Salt Water Taffy at many of the Boardwalk candy shops.

History of Fudge: Fudge was supposedly invented in the U.S.in the late 1880s. Historians believe the first batch of fudge resulted from a bungled batch of caramels, as in "Oh, Fudge" I don't think so... According to Wikipedia, the main component of Fudge was similar to the traditional recipe for Scots Tablet found in The Household Book of the Lady Grisell Baillie (1692-1733). The term 'fudge' is often used in the UK for a soft variant of the tablet recipe.

One of the first documented examples of American fudge (containing chocolate!) was found in a letter written by Emelyn Batersby Hartridge, a Vassar College student, who wrote that a friend's cousin made fudge in Baltimore in 1886 and sold it for 40 cents a pound. Hartridge asked for the fudge recipe, and in 1888 made 30 pounds of the fudge for the Vassar Senior Auction. In The Candy Book (Alice Bradley, 1929) an entire chapter is devoted to fudge.

Fudge is a crystalline candy, which means that, unlike lollipops, caramels, and taffy, crystal formation is the key to making great fudge. Tiny microcrystals of sugar in fudge give fudge its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time. Fudge is one of the rare exceptions to the rule that sugar crystals are not desirable in candy. Tiny microcrystals in fudge are what give it its firm texture. When the crystals are small enough, they don’t feel grainy on your tongue, but smooth.

While you ultimately want crystals to form, it's important that they don't form too early. Now this is where it gets tricky! The key to successful, non-grainy fudge is in the cooling, not the cooking. If you disturb the cooling fudge during this cooling phase, you increase the potential for larger crystals (seed crystals) of sugar to form too early and thus a grainy fudge results.

O.K. this is too much for me to take in, not being a candy maker. So how to make fudge relatively easy?

I've posted many fudge recipes over the past three years, so I thought I'd do a round-up of some of those fudge recipes. I've also re-posted the recipe below for Philly Fudge! I'm from Philly, and I grew up with Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The Philly Fudge recipe is an adaptation of the famous uncooked fudge recipe developed by Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese.  It became popular right after World War II. It really is pretty foolproof.

FUDGE RECIPE LINKS 

Goldie's Fudge
Vanilla Macadamia Nut Fudge
Nigella's Chocolate Pistachio Fudge
Creamy Chocolate Fudge
Chocolate Coffee Fudge
Ruth Jordan's Busy Lady Fudge
Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge
Layered Mint Chocolate Fudge (Lesa Holstine)
Foolproof Dark Chocolate Fudge
Easy Million Dollar Fudge

PHILLY FUDGE

Ingredients
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1- 8 ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk or cream
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  
Directions
Butter 8 inch baking pan well; set aside.
Melt chocolate in double boiler over hot, not boiling water.
Mix cream cheese and milk (or cream), beating on high speed until smooth.
Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at time, and beat at low speed until creamy.
Blend in melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth.
Stir in pecans or walnuts, but not both.
Press mixture into pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or until firm.
Cut into 1 1/4-inch squares.

2 comments:

~~louise~~ said...

GREAT post Janet! I LOVE PHilly Fudge!!!

Thanks for sharing and Happy Fudge Day!!!

yummychunklet said...

I just made chocolate pudding but may have to make fudge now as well!