When you are making fudge, there is one thing you will definitely need, and that’s a stand mixer. The stand mixer has long been the baker, and fudge maker’s, favorite tool in the kitchen since the advent of electricity, not only for their hands-free ease of use.
Today we will compare two of the most popular stand mixers out there, to see which is best for making fudge.
Making fudge in a stand mixer requires more consideration than mixing other things, so it’s worth covering what you want to look for in a stand mixer specifically for making fudge.
Keep reading to learn more about stand mixers, why we use them, and what makes them good for making fudge, as well as our recommended brand – find out below.
The Benefits Of A Stand Mixer
A stand mixer is perhaps the most useful tool in baking, and if you want to get into baking, or making fudge itself, having a good stand mixer will put you in good stead for success.
A stand mixer is essentially your cheat code to become more efficient at baking in the kitchen, it really speeds things up, and the right stand mixer can last you years.
A stand mixer, as the name suggests, stands on your counter top without being propped up, which means no more spinning bowls.
Traditionally people simply used the manual power of their arm to mix things, with the electric whisk coming next.
A stand mixer essentially acts as an arm for you and is as simple as pressing a button and observing it mix things up perfectly.
For our purposes – mixing fudge – the stand mixer is arguably the most important tool. If you try to mix fudge by hand, it’s going to start seizing up as we want it too and you will be throwing your gym membership out the window pretty quickly.
In other words, mixing fudge by hand, specifically, is pretty hard work and even using an electric hand whisk can be like riding a rodeo bull in this situation.
So, a stand mixer is the best tool for mixing fudge, but which should you get?
In comparison to Smeg, which we will get to later, KitchenAid actually has a few varieties of their stand mixer that are worth discussing, as well as other unique features.
One thing worth pointing out about the KitchenAid stand mixer line is that each has a quite unique ‘power hub’.
This is essentially the female plug that accepts up to 15 different attachments, from a pasta roller to a spiralizer, to a juicer. So, the versatility on this one gadget is pretty vast across both cooking and baking uses.
Let’s start with the classic, a design that arguably flagshiped the stand mixer as a product. The guy who invented the stand mixer sold his product under the KitchenAid name, all the way back as early as 1919 – so there’s a reason it stuck around.
The Classic Series has a tilt head design that allows easy access to the bowl. The latter has a 4.5 quart capacity, ideal for most mundane usage, but lacks a handle. There are 10 variable speeds that you change with a side lever.
The arm itself is powered by 275 watts and spins in what they refer to as ‘planetary-motion’ which basically means that attachment revolves while the bowl remains stationary, rather than vice versa, like the moon revolves around the sun, hence ‘planetary’.
When you purchase the Classic stand mixer it comes with 3 attachments, as well as the bowl itself, including a dough hook, a whisk, and a flat beater.
Being the smallest of the stand mixers, and thus the least expensive, its wattage is less than other models of stand mixer offered by KitchenAid.
However, the engineering of these products is pretty efficient, even with a lower wattage they are engineered so that the wattage is used as efficiently as possible for torque, the force used to mix, so that nothing is wasted.
In other words, even though the wattage is less than others, it still is pretty good for mixing a tight dough, or stiff fudge, thanks to good engineering.
The body is made from zinc, and if aesthetics are a big thing for you, the Classic Series comes in two classic colors, black or white – simple.
The Artisan Series is the next step up, so to speak, both in terms of price and capacity.
Importantly, the Artisan stand mixer bowl has a bowl capacity of 5 quarts, so only half a quart more than the Classic, but the bowl has a handle while the latter does not.
You get the same attachments as the Classic, dough hook, whisk and flat edge beater, but the latter has a raised silicone edge meaning absolutely no bowl scraping and really efficient beating when used.
Efficiency is increased as the wattage of this mixer is 325, so it’s quite a bit more powerful than the Classic, which is necessary with the increase in bowl capacity.
If you expect to be mixing larger quantities in the bowl, because you have a large family or just enjoy making large batches, then the Artisan is worth considering for its larger bowl.
Aesthetics can be important for those who are considering splashing out on an appliance that they will want to have around for a long time.
If this applies to you the Artisan could be worth considering as it is 44 colors varieties all in all, although you won’t necessarily have access to them all depending on the retailer you chose.
The Pro 600 Series is the most ideal for commercial level production, if you plan to be selling fudge on a large scale, made from your home.
The 6 quart bowl is indicative of the level of batch cooking this is the ideal application for. The Pro 600 shares the same core features as the previous series, but its big difference is the bowl-lift design.
The bowl lift mechanism allows you to raise the bowl to the attachment, and back to the stand, rather than moving the attachment to the bowl in the tilt head design of the previous series. This is mainly due to the weight of the bowl, mainly for speed of use.
For its large batch making abilities, the wattage needs to be amped up to 575 making this a very powerful mixer, with the attachments being larger themselves too.
Expect the same attachments in a basic purchase, but expect them to be one third larger than the previous series.
So Smeg’s Stand Mixer range is more simple, with more of a focus on aesthetics and single engineering goals.
Rather than having multiple types of different stand mixers like KitchenAid, Smeg chooses to put all their engineering power into one stand mixer.
Their stand mixer has a wattage of 600 and the bowl capacity is 5 quarts. It has 10 variable speeds, like KitchenAid, but also has a slow start option.
It also comes with the same basic attachments as the KitchenAid: a dough hook, whisk, and beater.
One point of difference is that Smeg, while having some good attachment options to buy in addition, the variety of attachments is less then what KitchenAid offers.
For those who care for aesthetics, Smeg really goes the whole nine yards. They take the same Italian engineering approach to their stand mixers like the Italian’s do with their sports car: power and style.
A Smeg stand mixer has a retro 50’s design, and can arguably be a decorative piece in itself, with a whole host of color options. Many people will go for Smeg purely for its aesthetic design, which is fair enough.
Which Is Best?
While the Smeg’s motor is more powerful than KitchenAid’s highest performing model, at 600 watts, the female hardware connection is not as good as KitchenAid.
Without getting into an engineering lesson, while it may have a higher wattage, KitchenAid, arguably, uses their wattage more efficiently.
With fudge making, we want a machine that can mix efficiently without tiring out its internal mechanism and wearing itself over periods of long use.
Consider, when making fudge, you will be asking a lot of its mechanisms as well as asking for this high performance on a regular basis.
If you are planning to make fudge at home, we would recommend the KitchenAid Artisan Series. While this has less wattage, as we explained, it can work more efficiently according to many reports.
It has more attachment options than the Smeg as well, so can have more use outside of just fudge making.
It’s ideal for high performance, which fudge making will be asking for, and will last a long time, and be used for many things, making it a well worth purchase.
For the price you pay for the Artisan KitchenAid stand mixer, it works out as less than the Smeg, but will arguably perform better.
If aesthetics are your thing, it is worth pointing out that there aren’t many who won’t admire the Smeg stand mixer, without regard for its performance.
The Smeg stand mixer, like most of their products, is actually a truly beautiful thing that looks great in any kitchen, something worth considering it will be used for a long time.
Although that’s not to say the KitchenAid mixer is ugly.
In either case, we really think that for what you pay, and focussing on performance rather than looks, the KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer is probably the best for fudge making as it is very high performance and efficient for its pricing.
The latter product is also ideal for many other baking and cooking uses and even if you drop your fudge making addiction, it will still be used time and time again in your kitchen – so pick a color you like!
Want to learn more about the quality cooking tools you need in your kitchen? Check out these product guides: