Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2024)

Fixing Soft or Grainy Fudge

By

Elizabeth LaBau

A professional pastry chef, cookbook author, and writer, Elizabeth LaBau has published more than 600 articles on baking and candy making.

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Updated on 01/5/20

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Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2)

If you're having trouble with your fudge, you're probably following a recipe for old-fashioned fudge—candy cooked to a specific temperature, cooled, then beaten until thick. Old-fashioned fudge can be fussy, especially on your first or second attempt. Some home cooks complain that their fudge is grainy, crumbly, or burnt while others complain that their fudge never sets properly. If you've encountered one of these problems, don't worry—you can probably save your fudge.

None of the following solutions or tips applies to the so-called quick fudge that involves marshmallow fluff or condensed milk. In fact, if you're nervous about trying to make old-fashioned fudge again, you should start with one of those foolproof recipes.

Fixing Fudge

Sometimes old-fashioned fudge never sets, even after hours in the refrigerator. You wait patiently, only to discover that it's still a sticky, gummy mess. But don't despair or throw out the entire pan of fudge: You can probably remedy the situation.

Fudge usually behaves this way when it's not cooked to a high enough temperature (due to oversight or a faulty candy thermometer).

If your fudge is tough, hard, or grainy, then you may have made one of several mistakes: You may have overcooked it, beaten it too long, or neglected to cool it to the proper temperature. Don't throw out the whole pan, because you may be able to melt the fudge down and try again. Of course, if your fudge has a distinctly burnt or scorched flavor, you'll have to start over with a fresh batch.

To fix soft fudge or hard fudge, simply follow these easy steps:

  1. Scrape the fudge back into a large saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups of water.
  2. Stir the fudge over low heat until it dissolves. Carefully taste the mixture, as the water probably diluted the flavor. Add more flavorings if necessary.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and bring it to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan frequently with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Do not stir the fudge.
  4. Cook it to the proper temperature specified in the recipe (most likely between 237 F and 239 F).
  5. Take it off the heat, and follow the recipe's instructions for cooling and beatingthe fudge. As you beat the candy, remember that the mixture should lose its sheen and thicken before you pour it into the pan.

Tips for Fudge Makers

  • Before you make another batch of fudge, it's a good idea to test your candy thermometer. Place it in boiling water to make sure that it registers 212F. If it doesn't, you should calibrate it or invest in a new one. Many people overcook fudge because of faulty or broken thermometers.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil, do not stir it. If you do, the sugar can crystallize, giving your fudge a gritty texture.
  • As you beat the fudge, pay attention to color and texture. Once the fudge loses its sheen and thickens, put down your spoon. If you continue to beat the fudge, it will go from “perfect” to “rock hard” in minutes.
  • If you're making a lighter fudge that doesn't involve any chocolate, you might notice that the recooked batch has a darker, brownish color, thanks to caramelized sugar crystals. This change may alarm you, but the fudge should still have a lovely, mellow flavor and silky texture.
Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them. (2024)

FAQs

Fudge Problems? Learn How to Fix Them.? ›

To fix oily, hard or grainy fudge, scoop the fudge back into a pot with about a cup of water. Cook it over low heat until the fudge dissolves. Then bring the fudge back up to the temperature specified in the recipe and follow the remaining steps. The flavor may be slightly diluted, but the texture will be improved.

How to fix fudge that won't set? ›

How can you fix soft fudge? Put it in a microwave safe bowl that is large enough that it won't boil over. Reheat it to the boiling point and cook for about 3 more minutes. Then you can beat some powdered sugar into it if this doesn't make it set.

What to do with failed fudge? ›

Good use of failed fudge: fudge that is too hard, too soft, too runny, too sugary, too chewy, etc. Proportions are as follows: for every 2 cups (roughly 1 pound yield) of any failed fudge that is not runny, you'll need 1 egg, ½ cup all-purpose flour, and ½ cup milk. If fudge is soupy, halve the milk (to ¼ cup).

How do you bring fudge back to life? ›

In the microwave - microwave in short increments with a glass of (warm) water, which creates steam for the fudge to absorb, until the fudge no longer feels/looks dried out.

What is the secret to perfect fudge? ›

The key to creamy, luscious fudge is controlling crystal formation. If the sucrose (table sugar) crystals are small, the fudge will feel creamy and smooth on your tongue. But if the crystals are large, the fudge develops a crumbly, dry, or even coarse texture.

Why did my fudge stay soft? ›

If there is too much evaporation, when the cooking time is too long, there will not be enough water left in the fudge and it will be too hard. Conversely, if the cooking time is too brief and there is not enough evaporation, too much water will remain and the fudge will be too soft.

Can you fix separated fudge? ›

This is easy to prevent by monitoring the temperature with a candy thermometer, but separated fudge can also be fixed. To fix oily, hard or grainy fudge, scoop the fudge back into a pot with about a cup of water.

Can you melt and reset fudge? ›

Pop the grainy fudge back into the pan along with some water and a little cream and melt the fudge back down to a liquid and re-boil it to temperature. Heat slowly to begin with and make sure the mixture goes completely smooth before bringing it to the boil.

Why won't my 3 ingredient condensed milk fudge set? ›

Why is my fudge not hardening? Typically this happens when the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk do not cook long enough in the microwave. If those two ingredients are not entirely melted, the fudge will not set up correctly while chilling in the fridge.

How do you save fudge? ›

Storing fudge in an airtight container is your best bet. Cut the fudge, and then store it in separate layers with waxed paper in between. If you intend to enjoy your fudge relatively quickly, it's best stored at room temperature short-term. If you plan to keep your fudge for longer, the freezer will be your best bet.

How do you keep fudge from crystallizing? ›

By letting the fudge cool without stirring, you avoid creating seed crystals. Stirring would help sucrose molecules "find" one another and start forming crystals. Stirring also introduces air, dust, and small dried bits from the walls of the saucepan—all potential seeds for crystal formation.

What temperature should fudge be cooked at? ›

Cook until the correct temperature

Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

How to fix fudge that didn't set? ›

OPTION 3) Sieve together some powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and gradually work this into your unset fudge until it reaches the consistency of dough, then roll out and cut into squares, or shape into balls and then roll in powdered sugar (roll the balls in icing sugar, not yourself).

How do you know when fudge is bad? ›

How to know if fudge has gone bad
  1. Homemade fudge can get moldy, develop a slimy texture, or start smelling funky. ...
  2. Soggy fudge: sometimes homemade soft fudge, especially those made with ingredients like peanut butter or cocoa butter, may soften up.
Mar 14, 2021

Why did my fudge turn out like caramel? ›

Fudge can turn into caramel due to overcooking or undercooking, incorrect temperatures, or wrong ingredients.

Should you put fudge in the fridge to set? ›

NEVER REFRIGERATE your fudge as this will draw out the moisture and leave you with dry, crumbly fudge.

Can I freeze fudge to make it set? ›

We like to set this fudge in the freezer to make it quicker! Once you add the fudge to your pan it will need just 30 minutes in the freezer to set.

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