Chocolate Fudge Recipe:
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
2 squares (2 ounces) (60 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup (160 ml) half-and-half (or light cream)
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Fudge: Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (20 x 20 x 5 cm) pan with about 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of room temperature unsalted butter. Set aside.
In a heavy 2 1/2 - 3 quart saucepan, place the sugar, chocolate, light corn syrup, and half-and-half. Over medium-low heat stir the ingredients, with a wooden spoon, until it comes to a boil. Cover the pan with a lid for about 2-3 minutes to allow the sides of the pan to wash themselves down and dissolve any sugar crystals. Remove lid and clamp a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan and, making sure it does not touch the bottom of the pan, boil the mixture gently (adjust the heat as necessary) until the temperature reaches the soft ball stage (236 degrees F) (113 degrees C). Do not stir or shake. (Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water if any granules form.)
Remove from heat and drop the 2 tablespoons of butter on top of the fudge, but do not stir the butter into the fudge. Allow the fudge to cool to lukewarm (110 degrees F) (38 - 43 degrees C). Remove the thermometer and add the vanilla extract and salt. Beat the fudge (you can do this by hand with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand mixer) until it begins to lose its shine and is nice and creamy. Pour into the prepared pan and let cool for several hours before cutting into squares.
Store and serve at room temperature.
Makes one 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pan of fudge.
There seems to be a consensus that fudge making began on American women's college campuses during the 1890s. Some believe that it began from a batch of botched caramel, hence its nickname "grained caramel". There are many opinions as to how the name "fudge" came to be and Webster's Dictionary speculates that the name 'fudge' refers to the fact that students making the candy were doing it in order to "fudge" on dormitory rules.
Fudge; like toffee, caramel, brittle, divinity, fondant, and pralines begins with sugar. Other ingredients, depending on the candy, are added to the sugar and this mixture is boiled until enough of the water has evaporated so the sugar syrup has reached the desired concentration and temperature. The temperature at which this syrup is removed from the heat determines the texture of the candy (the higher the temperature the harder the candy). To make chocolate fudge; chocolate, corn syrup, and cream (or milk) are boiled with the sugar until the soft ball stage is reached. (Soft ball means when you drop a little of the syrup into ice water it will form a soft ball that will lose its shape when exposed to the air, or if a candy thermometer is used (234 - 240 degrees F) (112 - 116 degrees C)). The fudge is then removed from the heat, butter is placed on the surface of the fudge, and it is left to cool undisturbed until lukewarm (about 110 degrees F) (42 degrees C). Vanilla extract and a little salt are then added and the fudge is beaten until creamy and smooth.
Now for a little science. Making fudge can be tricky. One of the first rules is - Do not make candy on a humid day as this can cause the fudge to be grainy. And then there is the problem of boiling sugar syrup tending to crystallize. Luckily there are ways to help slow down this crystallization. The first way is by adding corn syrup and cream (milk) to the mixture. Another, is to brush down the sides of the pan with cold water if there are any crystals forming, and do not stir the syrup once it boils. Care must also be taken when cooling the fudge as this can affect the fudge's texture and appearance. Make sure you do not stir in the butter (just place it on top) and leave the candy thermometer in the saucepan once you remove it from the heat so you can see when the fudge has cooled to the desired temperature. Then, and only then, should the fudge be beaten (to evenly distributes the sugar crystals) until it has lost its shine and is nice and thick. If you beat the fudge before it has cooled sufficiently the sugar crystals will be too large and hence graininess. Store the fudge at room temperature for up to a week, or for longer storage, it can be frozen.