11/03/2011 05:47 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make Fudge

Making fudge at home is easy, but you'll need a saucepan with a good heavy base (to avoid scorching) and a thermometer (to measure the temperature of the candy). With those simple tools, you're ready to go, says chef Peter Greweling of The Culinary Institute of America. In the saucepan, he combines 2 pounds of sugar, 8 ounces of milk, 4 ounces of heavy cream, 6 ounces of light corn syrup and 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate. Why unsweetened? You want the chocolate flavor without any additional sweetness. Stir constantly while heating the mixture, or the milk will scorch. He cooks the candy until it reaches 236 F. Because the mixture can quickly overheat, he turns down the flame a bit once the candy comes to a boil. Temperature is really crucial for good fudge: undercook it, and it will be too soft, overcook it, it will be too hard. And be sure to keep the thermometer probe in middle of liquid -- not touching the bottom.

Pour the cooked batch into a 9- by 13-inch pan to allow it to cool for 20 minutes. The next step is to crystallize the sugar in the fudge, so chef Greweling pours the cooled fudge into a clean mixing bowl and stirs it for about 5 minutes. (You can also do this step with a mixer.) You'll know the fudge is ready when it thickens and begins to make a popping sound as crystals form and the fudge captures air bubbles as you stir. When it's ready, he pours it into a buttered 9 by 9-inch baking pan to set. After an hour at room temperature, it's ready to cut and enjoy.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Peter Greweling from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make chocolate fudge.

To make this fudge recipe, we'll need a saucepan with a good heavy base, a heat-resistant rubber spatula, a good thermometer to measure the sugar temperature (that is quite important), and a 9x13 baking pan to put the fudge into.

Here I have two pounds of sugar, which I pour into the saucepan. I have eight ounces of milk mixed with four ounces of heavy cream, and I add that in. Then I add six ounces of light corn syrup, and eight ounces of chopped unsweetened chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is important in a fudge recipe because there is so much sugar in there already, we want to add the chocolate flavor without adding any more sweetness to it.

Now that all the ingredients are combined in the saucepan, we're going to put it on the heat and cook it. We'll cook this on a medium-high heat, and it's very important to stir it constantly as it cooks. With the milk in here, the fudge will scorch if we don't keep stirring it and keep the bottom of the saucepan clean. As the batch warms up, the chocolate begins to melt and soon it will come to a boil. We're going to cook the fudge to 236 degrees fahrenheit, and temperature is crucial. If you undercook the fudge it'll be too soft; if you overcook it, it'll be too hard. I've got my thermometer ready! You want to be careful to keep the probe in the middle of the liquid and not on the bottom of the saucepan. If the probe touches the bottom of the saucepan, you'll get a reading that's much higher than the actual temperature of the sugar, and then the fudge will be undercooked. As the temperature of the fudge increases it will get thicker, and it will burn more easily - so it's not a bad idea, as the temperature increases, to turn the heat of the burner down slightly.

My fudge has reached 236 fahrenheit, so I turn the burner off. Now what we're going to do is pour this cooked batch into a pan to allow it to cool. We're going to let the fudge cool in this pan for about twenty minutes; once it's cooled off, we'll put in in a bowl and stir it by hand, causing it to crystallize.

Now we'll pour the cooled fudge into a mixing bowl. This step can be done either by hand, as I'm going to, or in a mixer. You can see that the batch is very shiny, and very sticky, and this is what it should look like at this stage. So we begin stirring; you can see that the fudge is rather stiff, and that's normal. We're going to stir this, and it's going to take about five minutes of good vigorous stirring. What's going to happen is the sugar in the fudge is going to begin to crystallize, and that's what makes fudge set up. When that begins to happen, you'll notice that the fudge gets slightly stiffer; it doesn't flow so much any more, and it holds ridges as you run your spoon through it. When the fudge is nearly ready, you'll start hearing snapping or popping sounds as it catches air bubbles. That's a clue that you're getting close, finally!

It's beginning to hold some ridges, it's actually lightened in color a little bit as the sugar begins to crystallize, and now it's ready to put into its pan. This batch goes into a buttered 9x9 baking pan. It really smells amazing from that unsweetened chocolate, a really strong beautiful chocolate flavor.

Once the fudge is in the pan I like to swirl the top a little bit, which spreads the fudge around and gives it a nice look. Then we're going to leave this at room temperature for about an hour to set.

Our fudge crystallized beautifully; it's ready to cut and enjoy now. And that's how you make chocolate fudge.

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