After tossing out a batch of cloyingly sweet fudge this weekend, I decided to devote some time to finding a better recipe.
First, there was the old “Foolproof Chocolate Fudge” recipe made with chocolate chips and condensed milk. I’ve made that one for years, which is probably the reason I’m not very good at making real fudge. The condensed milk version is a cheat — good if you need something fast, but don’t bother serving it to real fudge lovers because people can usually tell it’s the “quick” kind. It’s heavy, needs chilling, and sometimes tastes like condensed milk. Given all that, I’d planned on eliminating condensed milk based fudge from my trials, but Louise told me about a Cooks Illustrated twist on the recipe. CI adds baking soda to get a stiffer, lighter texture more like the real stuff. They also make it less sweet by combining two types of chocolate.
So CI’s 15 Minute Walnut Fudge was first on the list for testing this morning. It tasted good and the baking soda definitely made the texture a little drier and firmer, but I wasn’t in love with it. It still required refrigeration and it didn’t have the melt-in-your-mouth quality that makes fudge great.
The next recipe was Alton Brown’s Fudge. There were some discrepancies between the fudge he made on the show and the recipe that was posted on the Food TV website, so I just used the website version since a few others said it was fine. It’s a good recipe, but I had to make it twice because the first time it got too hot in my stainless steel saucepan. The second time, using a different saucepan, it was perfect; though I did add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to Alton’s recipe. If you want to try a good homemade fudge recipe with no condensed milk or marshmallow crème, this is a good one to play with.
For the third fudge of the day, I decided to go with a really old fashioned recipe using cocoa powder and tried a classic Hershey’s fudge recipe someone posted on Recipezaar. Cocoa powder is less rich than actual chocolate and without any cream or half and half, my expectations for this fudge weren’t that high. Luckily, it exceeded them. This fudge was the real deal. I didn’t like it quite as much as Alton Brown’s fudge, but it had a light texture and rich chocolate flavor. Considering how much cheaper it is to make this fudge compared to the cheat fudge, it’s a recipe worth mastering.
So those were my three fudge trials for today. Several people swear by the marshmallow crème jar recipe “Fantasy Fudge” and I plan on trying that one next.