I love fudge, one of my favorite confections.  I was a little unprepared for this one today though.  I thought it would be easy to find fudge around town, yet NO stores carried it!  And the fudge shope in my town is only seasonal.  I attempted making it, but it only came out dry and grainy – not the creamy delicious fudge we all know and love.

Fudge is a crystalline candy and controlling the sugar solution crystallization is the key to delicious, smooth fudge. One of the most important aspects of any candy is the final texture. Temperature separates hard caramels from fudge and tiny microcrystals of sugar in fudge gives fudge its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time.  — Clearly I am not a master at this technique!

Sugar, butter, and cream are the only original ingredients to fudge. (of course chocolate is usually added and on today lots and lots of nuts!) Fudge is made by beating these ingredients together and boiling to the perfect temperature.   Under or over cooking can lead to crystallized fudge, which is what I wound up with.  Later additions to the fudge recipe, including marshmallow creame, corn syrup, or condensed milk, allowed for a full proof recipe guaranteeing a great fudgey texture, but lacked the rich decadent taste of original fudge.

Fudge was accidentally invented in the United States in the late 1880’s when a baker was trying to make a caramel.  It is a drier version of fondant.  In 1886, fudge was sold at a local Baltimore grocery store for 40 cents a pound. This is the first known sale of fudge as documented by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, then a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.  She wrote that a schoolmate’s cousin made fudge in Baltimore in 1886 and sold it for 40 cents a pound. She obtained the recipe, and in 1888, made 30 pounds of it for the Vassar Senior Auction.

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