While the actual word fudge has multiple meanings, none are equivalent to the traditional, family favorite, premium chocolate fudge. In the U.S., nearly always, the word fudge means a scrumptious, rich, creamy chocolate confectionery. At times you will see the word fudge used on the packaging of brownies and cakes, but this only means that they've added extra chocolate flavoring.
If you were to define it, fudge is a confectionery treat that is rich and creamy. It is a soft confection, ordinarily very smooth and made using sweet cream, fresh butter, sugar, corn syrup and sometimes some different sensational flavorings. Flavors might be vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, flavored gelatin, buttermilk, Kahlua, kool aid, mint, pumpkin, maple or even bourbon. Fudge can have various nuts, such as hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, roasted macadamia nuts, or almonds. Other possible ingredients that can be used in some of the more unusual or decadent fudge may be: crushed candy canes, crackers, popcorn, cheese, coconut, candy bars, pineapple chunks, lime peel, chocolate chips, espresso beans, cookie wafers, caramel, chunks of chocolate, marshmallows, or cherries and other dried or candied fruit.
Everyone loves eating rich, delicious fudge, but a lot of people assume it is hard to make. The earliest fudge recipes were unclear and quite difficult. Difficulty had to do with the type of ingredients, the recipe used, how good the equipment was and the patience to make it right. Also, nonstop stirring and being certain of the exact measurements, and cooking time were important for perfect fudge candy. Heating the ingredients to the proper temperature, and stirring at the right time are necessary as well to make the fudge smooth and creamy and not grainy. Moreover it was quite easy to under cook or over cook this sweet confectionery, which results in the candy not setting up or tasting scorched.
According to history, fudge was invented accidentally by a failed batch of candy; most likely caramels, sometime around 1886. From this fouled up batch of candy came the cooks' exclamation of or the phrase 'oh, fudge!' The initial evidence of fudge was in a letter from Poughkeepsie, New York. A college student from Vassar, Emelyn Battersby Hartidge, wrote that the cousin of a schoolmate made fudge. In Baltimore in 1886, the confection was 40 cents per pound. In 1888 Emelyn got the recipe and made 30 pounds for the Senior Auction at Vassar. Other colleges (Smith and Wellesley) then made their own recipes for this sweet confection.
Compared to other favorite candies that can date back a thousand years or more, fudge is fairly young. Earlier flavors of fudge were vanilla, chocolate and brown sugar penuche. Michigan is the fudge capital of America. And nowadays the fudge flavors or mixtures of ingredients are just about endless. A few of them are: raspberry coffee, vanilla cherry chocolate chip, maple walnut, chocolate cappuccino, vanilla caramel, lemon butter, chocolate cheesecake, dark chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate caramel pecan.
Author's Bio: Anna McAnthony is a content and staff writer at http://www.chocolategourmetcandy.com, and has been researching and writing articles on chocolate and chocolate candy for many years. Visit http://www.chocolategourmetcandy.com for more information.