IN honour of International Fudge Day which is celebrated today, June 16, here are some fabulous fun fudge facts as well as recipes from chef lecturers at Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Cape Town and Durban campuses.
- In the late 17th century, the word fudge meant “to fit together or adjust (clumsily).” Around 1800, the word was used to mean a hoax or cheat and by mid-century the use of the term “Oh, fudge!” as a kid-friendly expletive had come into favour, and was often used when something had been messed up. It’s believed that the first batch of fudge was created when someone was trying to make caramel and “fudged” up. The name stuck.
- The earliest origin story for fudge dates back to 1888 when American Emelyn Battersby Hartridge wrote a letter describing her introduction to the sweet treat through a friend’s cousin.
- While the Americans claim fudge as their own invention, some think it is an offshoot of a confectionary from Scotland called tablet. Tablet, which is made with sugar, condensed milk and butter was first noted in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie in the early 18th century.
- The record for the largest slab of fudge in the world weighed over 2 600 kilograms and was crafted at the Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada in 2010. It reportedly took a full week to make, and while ingredients aren’t available for this record, the previous record holder contained 320kg of butter, 1 270kg of chocolate and 1 155 litres of condensed milk.
- Fudge is actually a drier version of fondant; not the stiff, malleable kind so often seen on cake decorating shows, but the kind found in confectionery like peppermint thins.
- A tiny island in Michigan in the US considers itself the fudge capital of the world. There are upwards of a dozen fudge shops on Mackinac Island which is just 7 square kilometres in size with a population of 500. The oldest fudge shop on the island – Murdick’s Candy Kitchen – opened in 1887.
- Mackinac Island churns out over 4 535kgs of fudge daily during peak season. For production, fudge makers ship in about 10 tons of sugar each week and roughly 10 tons of butter each year. Every August, the island hosts the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, complete with events like Fudge on the Rocks where local bartenders craft fudge cocktails. Festival goers are referred to as “fudgies.”
- Mamie Eisenhower, the wife of the 34th US President Ike Eienshower (1953-61) was a huge fudge fan and even crafted her own recipe – named Mamie’s Million-Dollar Fudge – which included chopped nuts and marshmallow crème.
- The hot fudge sundae was created in Hollywood at CC Brown’s, an iconic ice cream parlour on Hollywood Boulevard, where you could order an ice cream sundae with melted fudge (1906).
- Good fudge is all about the sugar crystals. Big sugar crystals make fudge taste grainy while very tiny sugar crystals result in a creamy, sweet fudge that tastes like, well, great fudge.
White Chocolate Fudge by Chef Caren Marimuthu, pastry chef from Capsicum Culinary Studio Durban
- 125ml white sugar
- 125ml brown sugar
- 75ml glucose
- 140ml double cream
- 180g good quality white chocolate
- 40g butter
- 5ml vanilla paste
Line a flat bottom 10cm x 10cm square baking tray with plastic wrap (spray the tray with cooking spray before lining with plastic wrap so that it sticks to the tray without creasing).
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, cook sugar and glucose until softball stage (113°C).
Once the correct temperature is achieved, lower heat, and add cream, chocolate and butter and mix until the chocolate is completely melted, and it has formed a cohesive mixture.
Stir in vanilla paste.
Pour mixture into a lined tray and allow to cool.
Cut into squares or desired shapes and refrigerate overnight, until completely set.
Chef’s notes: The best way to measure glucose (corn syrup) is to first spray the measuring device with cooking spray.
Always best to use a sugar thermometer to check temperatures.
Quick and Easy Microwave Fudge by Chef Jaco Page, Capsicum Culinary Studio Cape Town
- 1 tin condensed milk
- 400g sugar
- 120g butter
- 15ml vanilla essence
Grease a square dish with butter or cooking spray. In a large microwave bowl, add condensed milk, sugar and butter and microwave for 2 minutes or until butter has melted.
Stir to combine all the ingredients and microwave for another 2 minutes and stir quickly. Repeat 3 times or until golden brown.
Stir in vanilla essence and pour into the prepared square dish. Wait until slightly cooled then cut into squares.
Chef’s notes: When adding vanilla essence you can also add some other options such as Peppermint Crisp, Rolo, toasted nuts or peanut butter.