Rich smooth and creamy Mocha Fudge with the intense flavor of espresso and chocolate. This is a fudge that deserves a special place in your holiday baking and gift giving. And I find that this old-fashioned fudge is so much better than those quick easy fudges. And the recipe really isn’t that difficult, but the results are so worth the extra effort!
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Makes a great gift
This fudge makes a great gift.
You can place each piece of fudge in a paper or foil candy cup, and arrange the cups in gift boxes lined with holiday paper for a fancy presentation.
It’s perfect for any Christmas cookie and candy exchange.
One year I made this for a Valentine’s Day potluck at work, and I cut the fudge up into small heart shapes using a tiny heart cookie cutter. Adorable!
What exactly is old-fashioned fudge?
Well, it’s the kind of fudge Grandma made.
It’s candy, cooked to a specific temperature, cooled, and beaten until thick in order to set up properly.
Old-fashioned fudge is often though of as difficult to make, or fussy, because if it’s not made properly, it can fail. It may be too soft, more like a sauce, too hard, or unpleasantly grainy with sugar crystals in it.
My experiences with candy making
When I was learning how to make candy, I made old-fashioned fudge fairly regularly. I never thought much about it; I just made it. And it made me happy.
I didn’t realize how difficult it could be. I didn’t know that it could fail.
Until after I read more about old-fashioned fudge, and I read how they are hard to make, and can fail. And, to my surprise, the next time I made some old-fashioned fudge, it failed. I was left with a saucy mess.
I think that I was too worried and fussed about it too much.
So, when I decided to make this delicious creamy old-fashioned fudge recipe that I’d been avoiding for years, I was a bit worried. Nervous even.
Then, I thought, no, I’ll be fine. I’ve made it many times before and it’s always come out. This is a good recipe. Go with it. Be brave. Be strong. (Really, I did say all those things to myself, as hokey as it seems).
I’m really glad I stopped avoiding it, as it is quite possibly the best fudge I’ve ever tasted. So creamy. So full of flavor. Mmmm, just perfect!
Instant espresso powder
This recipe calls for instant espresso powder. I used to be able to find this stuff at all grocery stores. Now, I have had trouble finding it, so I stockpile it when I do find it.
The flavor is the instant espresso powder is definitely preferable to instant coffee.
If you’re unable to fine instant espresso powder, I have a couple of suggestions.
My first substitution would be to use brewed espresso instead of instant powder and the ½ cup water. This is easy if you have an espresso maker at home. I have also gone to the local coffee shop and asked for ½ cup of espresso. They might look at you funny, but they’ll sell it to you. Just be sure to take your ½ cup measuring cup with you to make sure you get enough.
Next, I’d suggest going with ½ cup really strong brewed coffee instead of the espresso powder and ½ cup water.
And, finally, if none of those things work for you, try instant coffee in this recipe.
Just know that all of these will change the flavor of the fudge a bit.
Tips and tricks for making old-fashioned fudge
So, I thought I’d bring you some handy tips to help you make great fudge.
Make sure you have a big enough pan
When the fudge cooks, it will boil up quite a bit. So, make sure you use a large pan. A 4 to 6 quart pan would be my choice here.
You defiantly don’t want it to boil all over your stove, or to have to swap pots in the middle of cooking.
I also don’t recommend doubling this recipe, because of the volume of the hot candy mixture as it boils up.
First, you need a good working candy thermometer. Make sure you know how to read your candy thermometer as well. Some of them have tiny lines that may be difficult to read when you have the thermometer in a pan of boiling hot sugar syrup.
The candy thermometer is to ensure that you bring the sugar to the correct temperature.
If the sugar syrup is overcooked, the fudge will be hard and grainy.
If it’s undercooked, it will be too soft, and might not thicken at all resulting in more of a sauce than a fudge.
And, please, make sure you don’t wander off and check Facebook or something while the sugar is cooking. Just stay there and watch the sugar boil. Think of it as Zen training or something.
Don’t skip steps of the recipe
Make sure you brush the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. This helps to ensure that sugar crystals don’t form in the fudge, which would result in a grainy texture.
Be sure to beat the fudge properly
Don’t under beat
Follow the recipe instructions for beating it for 3 minutes with a wooden spoon. It should be nearly set when you’re done beating it for 3 minutes. And, yes, your arm may feel like it’s going to fall off.
Also, the fudge will look different when it’s set. It should have changed from a shiny liquid into a thick fudge that’s no longer shiny.
Don’t over beat
The fudge is done when it is matte, and no longer shiny. The spoon will leave tracks through the fudge when it’s done being beaten.
Don’t beat until it’s a solid mass of chocolate. You need a little fluidity in order to scrape the fudge into the pan and smooth it out.
Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan
Make sure to follow the recipe instructions, and do not scrape the pan. The caramel on the bottom of the saucepan is grainy, and will affect the texture of the fudge.
Spread the fudge into the pan
I like to add some waves or motion to the top of my fudge as I spread it in the pan. So, my favorite tool is an offset spatula.
You may also find that your hands are a great tool for spreading the fudge into the pan. In this case, simply spray your hands lightly with some non-stick spray, and pat the fudge into the pan.
What if my fudge fails?
Ok, you followed everything and still something happened. Here are some tricks to help you.
My fudge is too soft
Soft fudge will happen because it was not cooked to a high enough temperature, or it was not beaten enough.
First, I’d suggest using it as a sauce and serving it over ice cream. I’m sure it’s delicious!
Second, you can try and cook it and beat it again.
- Scrape the fudge back into a large saucepan and add 1 & ½ cups of water. Place it over low heat and stir until the fudge has dissolved and is blended with the water.
- 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. Cook it to 234°F. You might need to add more espresso flavoring, as the old flavor may be diluted.
- Immediately pour the mixture in bowl (do not scrape pan). Stir mixture vigorously with wooden spoon until fudge thickens slightly and looses some of its gloss, about 3 minutes. Transfer the fudge mixture to prepared baking dish. Smooth top of fudge in pan with rubber spatula.
My fudge is too hard
Fudge that’s too hard is due to overcooking or overbeating.
The method listed above may also work for remaking hard fudge. Of course, if the fudge is burned, that flavor will not go away, so it’s best to start again with fresh ingredients.
Be sure not to overbeat the fudge if you try remaking it. Be sure to stop beating it when it reaches a matte thicken state.
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Mocha Fudge Recipe
- 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped (not unsweetened)
- ¼ cup marshmallow creme
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup unsalted butter ½ stick
- Line an 8-inch square glass baking dish with aluminum foil, overlapping sides.
- Combine bittersweet chocolate, marshmallow creme, unsweetened chocolate, and vanilla extract in a medium heat proof bowl.
- In a heavy large saucepan (4 to 6 quarts), mix water and espresso powder until the espresso powder dissolves. Add the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream, and unsalted butter, and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan occasionally with wet pastry brush.
- Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to the side of pan. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and stir constantly but slowly with wooden spoon until candy thermometer registers 234°F, about 12 minutes.
- Immediately pour the hot candy mixture over the ingredients in bowl (do not scrape pan).
- Stir mixture vigorously with wooden spoon until all chocolate melts and fudge thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the fudge mixture to prepared baking dish. Smooth the top of fudge with an offset spatula. Refrigerate fudge, uncovered, until firm enough to cut, about 2 hours.
- Using aluminum foil as aid, lift fudge from pan. Cut into 32 pieces.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.