traditional chocolate fudge

traditional chocolate fudge

This fudge is the real deal. No marshmallow fluff, no Velveeta cheese.

It’s traditional chocolate fudge, made the old fashioned way.

The chocolatey sugar mixture is boiled to 235°F, dotted with butter and left to cool undisturbed to 120°F. This gradual cooling allows for slow crystallization to take place and the formation of tiny microcrystals, which are responsible for the smooth, melt in your mouth texture and firm consistency of fudge. Once it cools, the mixture is beaten with a mixer until lightened in color and slightly dull, then it’s poured into a pan to fully cool and set. Like all candy, fudge is a very technical endeavor and therefore it has a reputation for being difficult to make. But if you read through the directions before starting, prepare your ingredients and pans, use a calibrated thermometer, and follow the directions-- you’re bound to have a deliciously smooth, rich and chocolatey fudge! Enjoy!

traditional chocolate fudge

notes on this traditional chocolate fudge:

  • if the fudge cools too quickly, is stirred during cooling, or has seed crystals on the side of the pot (from not buttering the mixing bowl, for example), the sugar can crystallize out of solution and give you a gritty, grainy textured fudge.

  • high humidity can cause the sugar to absorb excess moisture from the air which may prevent the fudge from setting well. If you’re worried this may happen, consider cooking the fudge a few degrees higher to compensate for the extra moisture (although do note— the morning I made this, it was 96% humidity outside AND we live in an old rental with terrible insulation, so it was probably 96% inside as well, and I did not have any setting problems)

  • don’t double the recipe— fudge can be finicky and it’s best to make small batches to make sure everything cooks at the same temperature.

traditional chocolate fudge

makes about 40 1" pieces | recipe from Erin McDowell via Food52


  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 tbsp good-quality cocoa powder

  • 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Grease an 8- by 8-inch pan lightly with nonstick spray. Line the pan with parchment paper (cut the paper at the corners so that they fit flush to the pan). Butter the top of the parchment with 1 tablespoon of butter. Butter the inside of the bowl of an electric mixer.

  2. In a medium pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, milk, cocoa powder, and chocolate (be sure to use a pot that is large enough to allow the mixture to vigorously bubble without bubbling over). Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to help the sugar dissolve and the chocolate melt. Once the mixture is smooth, carefully attach an accurate candy thermometer to the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

  3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the temperature reads 235° F on the thermometer. Stirring prevents the mixture from scorching on the base of the pan during cooking. When the mixture reaches temperature, stir in the vanilla.

  4. Pour the mixture into the buttered mixing bowl. Attach the candy thermometer to the bowl—make sure the base of the thermometer is as deep as possible in the mixture. Dot the surface of the mixture with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Do not mix to combine.

  5. Allow the mixture to cool, undisturbed (absolutely no stirring!) until it reads 120° F on the thermometer. Remove the thermometer and attach the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

  6. Beat the mixture on medium speed until it has lightened slightly in color and has lost some of its sheen (it will look more matte). It should hold its shape when dropped from the paddle into the bowl. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes. You can also do this by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon; it will take 4 to 6 minutes. (Note: don't start washing dishes at this point! It may feel like it's taking forever, but be patient and pay attention. I over-mixed the batch in the pictures by about 1 1/2 minutes.)

  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth into one layer. Allow to set at room temperature until cool, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the cooled fudge from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares.

Store the fudge in airtight containers (or wrap the pieces individually) to prevent it from drying out. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw before serving.