I made at least half a dozen batches of chocolate fudge last fall. This easy recipe is the one I liked the most. This fudge consistently turned out creamy and delicious and completely and utterly satisfying.
Here's why I love this recipe. NO candy thermometer. NO vigorous beating that tires your upper arm or burns out an electric mixer. The fudge is good for weeks (if you don't eat it all first). It's delicious, chocolatey, and rich. It's creamy but it has just the right amount of resistance when you bite into it.
Basically, it's perfect.
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Problems with Making Traditional Chocolate Fudge
Making fudge can be temperamental. You're supposed to beat traditional fudge by hand, which is quite a workout. Beat it too long, and it will be too stiff and not creamy. Beat it too little, and it won't stick together.
If you stir while the syrup boils, or if anything else goes wrong, your traditional fudge may be grainy. Undercook it and it won't set. Overcook it, and it will be hard. If the weather is wet and rainy, who knows how your fudge will turn out?
I made traditional fudge a few times when I was a teenager. Beating it broke a few wooden spoons. The last time I made it, I became frustrated because it didn't set properly, and I haven't made it since.
In a brief spurt last year, I started trying to clear out a bunch of old recipes booklets I'd stashed away. My endeavors didn't last long, but I did find a comb-bound cookbook of chocolate recipes compiled by a 6th grade class who had read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I've never actually read the book, to my knowledge, and I only ever saw the movie with Gene Wilder (named Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, actually). The cookbook was bundled together with a bunch of other cookbooks my parents bought at a yard sale, and of course they're going to give cookbooks to me!
Plus, as we all know, I love chocolate.
I've tried a few fun recipes out of it. My favorites have been ones that the children received from their grandparents, like a recipe for "Sheath Cake" instead of "Sheet Cake." Recipes that call for oleo (which is just an old word for margarine). It all reminds me, in the best possible way, of reading my great grandma's recipe cards, with cramped handwriting, misspellings, and instructions written down as they heard or spoke them. My heart softens and I kind of want to hug the recipe.
There were 2 fudge recipes in this cookbook. I tried both, and both worked, but this was the only one that worked every time.Jump to Recipe
Making Easier Chocolate Fudge
What makes this recipe a different from traditional fudge? It's the inclusion of evaporated milk (although I think you can use that in some traditional fudge recipes). Evaporated milk already has some water cooked out, while keeping milky goodness, which makes it great for candy making. (It is not the same as sweetened condensed milk, which contains sugar.)
Just as importantly, though, is the inclusion of marshmallows that melt into the hot milk mixture. The gelatin in the marshmallows helps stabilize the fudge, giving it that toothsome texture.Jump to Recipe
Start by combining butter, a lot of sugar, and a can of evaporated milk in a heavy pot. Stir it occasionally to dissolve the sugar, melt the butter, and keep things from scorching on bottom.
Meanwhile, prepare your 9×13-inch pan and gather your remaining ingredients. You can grease your pan, but I prefer disposable parchment paper here so I can easily lift out the fudge to cut it. I prefer mini marshmallows over regular ones because it saves me the step of cutting them so they melt more easily. I don't add nuts to my fudge, but if you do, gather them now.
I've always used chocolate chips rather than chopped chocolate. Using a mix of chocolate is important. It's not as good with just one kind of chocolate. I use 1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips, and 1 bag of milk chocolate chips. A bag of chocolate chips is only 11.5-12 ounces, so you'll need an extra 4 ounces of milk chocolate (although semisweet works too!). You can open a 3rd bag of chocolate chips, but I usually do is gather whatever random snacking chocolate I have in the house. Leftover Hershey bars from Halloween - you're in!
For the semisweet chocolate chips, I prefer using chips with a higher percentage of cocoa - like 60% cocoa. I prefer the Ghirardelli chocolate chips , although I've been using Nestle dark chocolate chips recently (which are 53% cocoa). However, even regular semisweet chips you buy at the store, without cocoa percentages, are fine too. I have used all generic chocolate in batches, and it's still good!
Stir your sugar syrup while you bring it to a full rolling boil. I'm not talking little bubbles in the center; it will bubble everywhere. When it's at a full boil, the syrup will expand up and double in size. Set your timer for 5 minutes and set aside your mixing spoon - you'll want a clean one for your next step.
After 5 minutes, remove your pot from the heat. Dump in all your chocolate, marshmallows, nuts (if you're using), and a little vanilla. Things will start to melt immediately. Use a clean wooden spoon or firm rubber spatula to stir everything. Mix until everything melts. I usually look for no-to-minimal lumps, but that may be hard to see if you've added nuts.
Pour immediately into your parchment-lined pan. Cool for at least 2 hours before trying to cut. I honestly can't wait, and basically dig a spoon in after an hour. Fudge cuts best if left to firm up for 4 hours or overnight.Jump to Recipe
Use the parchment paper to lift the fudge right out of the pan. Cut it into whatever size you prefer. I like to use my bench scraper to cut it into nice, even lines.
Store fudge in an airtight container. Use waxed paper to separate the layers. Don't store it with other candies or items, as you don't want it to absorb moisture from them, or for them to steal moisture from it and leave the fudge dry and brittle.
Fudge keeps very well stored in cool, dry conditions. As a result, fudge ships very well! Wrap it in 2 layers of waxed paper; this will protect it from the air. Last Christmas, one of my food gift boxes was delayed by one month, but my friends said the fudge was still delicious. That said, it will not ship so well in the summer.
At home, I would say that fudge lasts about 1-2 weeks at room temperature in a container that we dig into often; after that, the edges start to dry out.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Interested in other recipes? I save and share recipes I like or want to try on my Pinterest page - follow me there! You can also check out my Facebook page for more recipes and helpful tips. I'm also happy to try to help troubleshoot my recipes there.
Have you tried this recipe? Or have a question about it? Rate it or leave a comment below! (PS: rating my recipes helps other people find them, too!)
In the past:
Four Years Ago: Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix
Ten Years Ago: Hearst Castle Shortbread Cookies
Eleven Years Ago: Stadium Cake, Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream (a review)
An easier fudge recipe that's still homemade! No candy thermometer! Boil sugar, butter, and milk for 5 minutes, add marshmallows and chocolate chips, stir, and enjoy!
- 3 cups sugar (600 grams)
- 1 can evaporated milk (12 ounces/354 grams)
- 4 tablespoons butter (56 grams)
- 64 miniature marshmallows (or 16 regular marshmallows; 45 grams)
- 16 ounces milk chocolate (chopped; chocolate chips are fine) (454 grams)
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine; 60% cocoa is preferred) (340 grams)
- 1 cup nuts (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (10 grams)
Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. (Or, you can butter the pan, but it's easier to cut fudge if you can lift it out.) Set pan aside.
Combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a large, heavy pan. Heat over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Stir occasionally to help the butter melt, and scrape the bottom so that the milk doesn't scorch.
Meanwhile, prepare your other ingredients. If using bars of chocolate, chop your chocolate into small pieces. Cut regular-sized marshmallows into quarters. Gather your nuts and vanilla.
Bring sugar-milk mixture to a full rolling boil. The entire surface will be bubbles. The liquid will double in volume and will come close to the top of the pan. Set aside your stirring spoon and boil for 5 minutes, with no stirring. If the mixture looks like it will boil over, edge down the heat slightly, just enough to keep it from making a mess.
After your 5 minute timer goes off, remove the pot from the heat. Immediately add the chocolate, marshmallows, nuts (if using), and vanilla. Use a clean wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula to stir everything together. Mix until the chocolate and marshmallows are completely melted and stirred in. The mixture (without nuts) will be relatively smooth. Fudge on the spoon will start to crackle if you take a break from stirring. This whole process takes me about 4-5 minutes.
Pour into your prepared pan, trying to get it into all the corners in one go. Smooth it slightly. Let cool for at least 2 hours before removing the parchment from the pan and cutting.
Store fudge in an airtight container. Cool room temperature is fine. If packing to ship, cut fudge into slices and wrap in 2 layers of waxed paper. Eat cut fudge within 1-2 weeks. Wrapped fudge will keep a little while longer.
Be sure you use evaporated milk and not sweetened condensed milk, which contains sugar.
Use a mix of chocolate. Do not try only milk or only semisweet chocolate; it will not be as good.
Chocolate: I use 1 bag of milk chocolate chips; 4 ounces of randomly assembled grocery store chocolate (like leftover Hershey bars or other candy); and 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips. I recommend using dark chocolate chips with a higher percentage of cocoa for the semisweet as it makes the fudge a little richer.
Calorie count is an estimate and does not include nuts. Specific calorie count will vary depending on the specific chocolate you use and the size you cut your pieces.