When it comes to making fudge, the most crucial moment in the process is when it’s time to set.
You won’t know how any of the creation processes have gone until you get to this point. When the mixture becomes solid, you’ll know if you’ve overworked it and turned it grainy or if you’ve added enough flavor.
Looking at a traditional fudge mixture alone, fudge should take around 3 hours for your fudge to set. If you have added chunky ingredients like raisins, chocolate chips, or cookie crumbles, then you can expect this time to be longer.
However, if after a couple of hours you don’t see a change in the liquid, then something else has happened. Don’t worry, though, there is a way to fix it!
Average Setting Time
Setting times all depend on the thickness of your fudge and the extra flavors you have added to the traditional mixture.
This 3 hour time frame is also based on an 8 inch (20 centimeters) baking tin size. If your baking tin is smaller than this, then you can expect a quicker setting time.
It doesn’t harm the fudge to set it for longer than expected, so we suggest edging on the side of caution and allowing the fudge to set for as long as possible; maybe even overnight.
Before you even get to the setting stage, your fudge should be thick. If you are looking at a gloopying mess of water and sugar, then you most likely undercooked your fudge.
The ideal temperature to cook fudge is 234 and 237 °F/ 112 and 114 °C. Cooking below this temperature will leave you with an overly soft and water fudge. To save this liquid mixture, you should put it back in a saucepan, then add an additional tablespoon of cream and bring it to a boil.
While you are waiting for the boil, continue to stir the sugar water until the cream has melted into the mixture. Keep boiling until you bring the mixture up to 234 and 237 °F/ 112 and 114 °C.
Let it continue at this temperature for another couple of minutes until the watery nature has gone. Then start the setting process again. Do not let it go higher than this temperature. If you need to lower the temperature, do so.
Quick Fixes For Runny Fudge
If your fudge looks completely fine when you let it set, but half a day has passed, and it doesn’t seem to be solidifying, then you may need some extra help!
The mostly likely problem comes from an unbalanced ingredient list, where you have too much sugar in comparison to the other ingredients. There are three ways to fix this problem, and the only thing that separates them is flavor and accessibility.
Method 1 – Cornflour And Water
Just like when your gravy or sauce becomes too liquidy, an easy solution is to add a cornflour paste to the mixture. It will dampen your overall flavor, but only by a little.
Make a slurry by adding two teaspoons of water and one teaspoon of cornflour into a separate bowl. Mix them together to create a slurry. Once created, add the slurry to your fudge mixture and stir for a couple of minutes.
Keep doing this until the fudge has the correct consistency. Then start your setting process again.
If you need to reheat your fudge to allow the new ingredients to mix in- remember to stay under the 238°F/ 115 °C.
Method 2 – Powdered Sugar
For this method, you simply need to add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar to the fudge mixture at a time and stir it until the mixture becomes more solid. Keep doing this until it reaches the desired consistency, and then start the setting process again.
Using powdered sugar will add to the sweetness of the fudge, so weigh up the value of this method before you start it.
Method 3 – Evaporated Milk And Re-Heat
If you don’t want to dampen the flavor but know that adding more sweetness could make the fudge too sickly, we suggest using the evaporated milk method instead.
Milk will keep the flavor balanced. We suggest adding 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk into the mixture and bringing the contents back up to boiling.
Let it reach 234 and 237 °F/ 112 and 114 °C while constantly stirring. Then start the cooling process again.
How To Check The Temperature Of Your Fudge
Ideally, you should be using a candy thermometer when measuring the temperature of your fudge, as these measuring devices are designed to have larger surface areas than a typical meat thermometer.
To make sure your thermometer can accurately measure the liquid fudge, you should boil water and test the device. If it shows the water to be 212 °F/ 100°C, you know the thermometer works correctly. If it shows anything else, then the stick is faulty.
When using the thermometer, there is one thing you need to be aware of. Although it will be easier to see when your fudge reaches 234 and 237 °F/ 112 and 114 °C, if you get distracted, you could still burn your mixture.
After 220°F/ 104°C, the temperature will start to rise very quickly.
If you go past the desired temperature, then you will be at risk of burning everything you have been working on. Watch the temperature rise and turn off the heat once it has reached the heating goal.
If you don’t have a thermometer and have no desire to get one, then you can use the “old-fashioned” method, also known as the water test.
Using a spoon, pick up a drop of the hot syrup and then plop it into cold water. As the syrup falls into the cool liquid, it will start to form a ball-like shape. After it’s cooled enough to handle, pick up this ball and press it in your fingers.
What you are doing is seeing a micro-version of your fudge, cooked and cooled in action. The perfect consistency for fudge will allow the syrup to turn into a ball but still create an easy to flatten the mixture.
If the syrup is undercooked, the ball won’t form. If it is overcooked, the ball cannot be squished.
On average fudge should take 3 hours set after it has cooled. The fudge mixture should have hardened up to a thick, soft yet solid state. After, this step you are then ready to cut the fudge.
For a more detailed guide on making fudge, read this Ultimate guide to making fudge .