Cooking fudge can sometimes feel like a lot of work – but nobody can deny that the end results are more than worth it!
There are a number of careful factors to be considered if you are looking to craft the best sweet treat, and getting the balance right can be one of the hardest things about making perfect fudge.
One of the most common issues that tends to arise is something that we have likely all experienced at some point during our baking adventures: fudge getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Before you panic, however, read on as there are a number of solutions available, and your hours of labor may not have been in vain!
Whether you are an experienced baker, brand new to the world of delicious delicacies, or simply stuck wondering how on earth you are supposed to get your fudge free, read on for everything you need to know.
Why Is My Fudge Sticking To the Pan?
Understanding why your fudge may be sticking to the pan helps to reduce the risk of this happening, and there are a number of possible causes.
One of the main reasons that your fudge is likely to stick in your pan is that you have allowed it to get too soft while cooking – the perfect consistency is the secret to delicious fudge.
There are a few simple steps that you will need to make sure you follow in order to increase your chances of success, and we will explore these below:
Prepare Your Pan
Before you start baking, one of your main priorities should be preparing your pan properly, and this starts with choosing the right pan.
Ideally, you need a heavy, nonstick pan with tall, straight sides – this helps to reduce the chances of the sugar crystallizing, which can ruin the end result.
Copper is the best material, as this distributes heat evenly throughout the pan, and ensures that your fudge cooks evenly and consistently throughout.
Copper pans can be expensive, however, so quality alternatives such as stainless steel are also a good option. We recommend investing in some good saucepans such as these two sets which we have highlighted above which can be purchased on Amazon.
Once you have chosen your pan, prepare it thoroughly. The entire surface should be lined with either waxed paper, parchment paper, or foil – of these, foil is the best option, and reduces your chances of the fudge sticking to the pan. Check out our blog ‘does fudge stick to tin foil’ which explains the pros for using aluminium foil.
This is also relatively inexpensive, so you can use plenty. Once the lining is in place, take extra precautions by greasing the foil or paper with plenty of butter – this is an extra step that reduces the risk of your fudge sticking and provides plenty of lubrication.
Take Care While Cooking
For most fudge recipes, the instructions will call for you to combine all of your ingredients into a nonstick pan, and then cook the concoction on a medium heat.
Heat is important here; if you use a temperature that is too high, then you will ruin the end result and could end up with burnt, tasteless fudge.
A medium heat is ideal, and you should cook the ingredients until it reaches the “soft-ball” stage, and this is one of the most important elements in making successful fudge, and typically occurs when the temperature of the ingredients reaches around 234 and 237 °F/ 112 and 114 °C and can be checked using a specialist candy thermometer, designed for the job.
Beat The Fudge And Add Extras
The next step is to cool your fudge to a temperature of around 109 to 113 °F/ 43 to 45 °C, and then beat it with force, continuing until the fudge is stiff, thick, and has lost its gloss. Use a wooden or silicone spatula or spoon for this, as these materials will offer you the optimum results.
This is also the stage at which you can add additional ingredients, such as chocolate chips or nuts as desired. Once the fudge has lost its glossy sheen, you are ready to pour it into the pan you prepared earlier, remembering to grease and line the container before you do anything else.
Take care not to scrape the fudge at this point, or you risk ruining the temperature – instead, simply allow it to pour in slowly.
Allow The Fudge To Cool
Once the fudge has been poured, allow it to cool in the fridge, and then remove it from the pan using paper or foil to pull the fudge out – as long as you have added enough butter to grease the pan, then it should come out quickly and easily.
Next, remove the paper or foil that you used, and cut the fudge into small pieces.
Wrap And Store Correctly
Once the fudge is cooked, cooled, and cut, you need to wrap and store it – while you can simply palace the squares into a tub and store them in the fridge, it is a good idea to wrap them, as this can reduce the risk of the pieces sticking together.
How To Stop Fudge From Sticking
There are a few methods that can help to save the day if you find yourself in a sticky spot – some will be more suitable than others, depending on the pan that you opt for.
Immerse In Hot Water
One of the most popular options tends to be immersing a pan in hot water, and this typically works best with glass pans. The trick is to rest the dish in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds, without letting the water go into the fudge.
After a few moments, flip the pan over onto a plate, or onto waved paper, and tap the bottom very gently with a spoon – if you are lucky, your fudge will slip right out onto the paper.
This can take a little while, as you are relying on gravity to do its job. You can also encourage the fudge to slip free by using a knife to gently scrape the edges of the pan to release the fudge.
Use A Hot Blow Dryer
Another popular option is to run a hairdryer on the bottom of the pan on a low setting – this heats up the fudge, and can help to loosen it from the bottom of the pan. Be careful when using this method, as it can cause the pan to become very hot if you hold the heat on one spot for too long.
Microwave The Pan
If your fudge is stuck in a glass pan, you can always pop it in the microwave for a few seconds until the mixture becomes soft – make sure that the glass is safe to heat, such as those created by Pyrex.
This method allows the fudge to become soft, and you can then start again, placing the fudge on wax or parchment paper and refrigerating it to allow it to set.
Creating the perfect fudge can be a challenge, but by finding the right equipment, and making sure that you have rescue techniques on hand, you can take the steps to enjoy a delicious sweet treat every time.