This is an Old Fashioned Homemade Fudge Recipe. An award winning fudge recipe that’s been in our family for generations. Winning the Division Sweepstakes at the Kansas State Fair, this recipe is made with marshmallow creme and condensed milk. An easy chocolate fudge recipe that will become a Christmas tradition.
My mother made batch after batch of this homemade chocolate fudge every single Christmas that I can remember. I’ve called it Christmas Fudge my whole life. She made box after box of it for gifts to give to friends, neighbors, school teachers, mail delivery guys, … school bus drivers.
It’s an easy marshmallow cream fudge recipe, it’s an old fashioned fudge recipe with marshmallow creme and evaporated milk.
Making fudge is easy, as long as you follow the simple directions. Let’s take a look.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients are simple and the method is quite easy, let’s take a look.
- Unsalted Butter. Butter brings a creamy buttery flavor to the party. You can use salted butter if you’d like.
- Sugar: Butter and sugar go hand in hand with almost all baking projects. Granulated is called for in this recipe.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: This recipe calls for Semi-sweet chocolate chips. The common chocolate chip which is lower in cacao and is sweeter than bittersweet chocolate chips. You could also use bittersweet chocolate chips for this recipe, which are higher in cacao. They are interchangeable with a slightly different flavor profile.
- Milk Chocolate Chocolate Chips: Milk Chocolate Chips are even sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate chips. Milk chocolate chips bring a creamy texture to this fudge recipe.
- Fudge With Evaporated Milk: Don’t confuse unsweetened evaporated milk with sweetened condensed milk. Even though both products are condensed, plain evaporated milk in unsweetened. Sweetened Condensed Milk, is very sweet. Using sweetened condensed milk in this recipe would make it too sweet.
- Fudge with Marshmallow Fluff: Or some brand may be labeled Marshmallow Creme. It’s simply a confectionary spread that tastes like marshmallows, but with a different texture. I’ve used both products with success, however, Marshmallow Creme is easier to manage.
- Vanilla: Vanilla prices have skyrocketed over the last few years. Use the best quality you can, in your price limit range. I like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Vanilla Paste. It’s a beautiful product that comes with a pretty price.
- Walnuts: I’ve always used walnuts for this recipe, but you can substitute pecans.
How To Make Old Fashioned Fudge … Step by Step
Fudge may seem harmless enough, but keep in mind, Fudge is a candy recipe. Meaning that you cook sugar to a “stage”. It’s important to follow these directions closely so the texture of the fudge will be perfectly “fudgy” and creamy.
- Step 1: Using a good heavy saucepan, add condensed milk, butter and sugar. I use my Le Creuset 6 quart Dutch oven. But any large heavy sauce pan will work.
- Step 2: Set the mixture on the stove top and turn you burner on high heat. Bring the butter, sugar, milk mixture to a rolling boil. Keep the mixture at boiling stage, stirring constantly. It’s important to stir constantly so the mixture won’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. Boil until the mixture reaches soft ball stage, or 234 – 240 degrees. A candy thermometer is an inexpensive and useful tool to have here.
- Step 3: Once the mixture has reached soft ball stage, remove it from the heat and quickly stir in Marshmallow Creme (or Fluff) and Chocolate Chips.
Step 4: Working quickly and using your best elbow grease, stir the mixture quickly and vigorously to combine the ingredients into a smooth chocolate mix.
- Step 5: Once the mixture is well mixed, pour the chocolate fudge into a buttered 9 x 13 pan. I like to use the edge of a wooden spoon to make little peaks in the fudge. Let cool and set up for a couple of hours. Cover with plastic wrap until you’re ready to cut.
Hard Ball, Soft Ball … What Is Softball Stage When Making Fudge?
I remember watching my mom with intent, with her precision of getting the sugar mixtures at just the right temperatures to make candy recipes work. She’d drop a small teaspoon of the boiling sugar mixture into a glass of cold water. If the sugar formed into just the right ball consistency, the candy was ready to form.
Cooking sugar for fudge must be cooked to what is called soft ball stage. Meaning that sugar is cooked to a temperature 234 – 240 degrees. If that temperature has been reached, a small dollop of that hot sugar when dropped into a glass of cold water will form a soft ball, or a soft clump. When you remove that clump from the water, it should hold its shape for a short while before flattening.
Learning this method is a great skill to know, however, owning a candy thermometer is a very valuable tool when it’s time for candy making. And an easier method for precision. Candy thermometers aren’t expensive.
Most candy thermometers clearly display the temperature stages, but if you have one that doesn’t, here’s a list of temps to help you out.
Candy Temperature Chart
- Thread – 230 – 234
- Soft Ball – 234 – 242
- Firm Ball – 243 – 249
- Hard Ball – 250 – 269
- Soft Crack – 270 – 294
- Hard Crack – 295 – 319
- Light Caramel – 320 – 325
- Dark Caramel – 326 – 350
FAQ’s and Tips
Want to get a head start on your holiday baking? Make this fudge ahead and pop it in the freezer. Fudge freezes very well, with possibly just a slight alter in the texture. I like to slice the fudge into squares first. If using a container that you can layer the pieces, use parchment paper or waxed paper between layers. Unthaw fudge in the refrigerator.
How long does fudge last out of the fridge? Store fudge in an airtight container at room temperature. It will last one to two weeks. You can refrigerate fudge, but the cold temps will dry it out.
I highly recommend using a candy thermometer to make this recipe. They’re inexpensive and they take the worry out of cooking sugar. For instance, if you over cook the sugar to a higher temperature than the 242 degrees (soft-ball stage) there’s no turning back. The texture of the fudge will be compromised and you’ll more than likely have to start over. That’s spoken from experience.
Absolutely, the nuts are just for a little fun and crunch. They make no difference in the cooking process.
Not all sauce pans are created equal. Different materials will cook the sugar mixture at slightly different times. I’ve seen recipes that say cook for 5 minutes and you magically achieve the proper candy temperature to make fudge. Bad advice! Altitude (I’m at high altitude) and pan types carry too much clout to rely on a simple designated time. I don’t know about you, but I hate throwing out food and starting over. Use a candy thermometer!
Working quickly while making this fudge recipe is important. Have everything ready to go by emptying the chocolate chips into a bowl, remove the marshmallow creme from the containers into a bowl. I even empty the nuts into a small bowl ahead of time.
Fudge Recipe with Marshmallow Fluff and Condensed Milk
The easy chocolate fudge has been passed down from my great great grandmother, to my grandmother, and to my aunts. Now it’s up to us kids to keep this recipe alive and well. It’s an old fashioned fudge with evaporated milk and marshmallow creme. It’s easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.
My cousin Brooke entered this Christmas Fudge recipe in the Kansas State Fair when she was 11 years old and ended up winning the Junior Division Sweepstakes.
The recipe was published in “A Century of Good Cooking, Kansas State Fair” cookbook, and she won 30 pounds of sugar. 🙂
So with all of that said here’s that award-winning homemade fudge recipe.
I hope you give this old fashioned fudge recipe a try. And if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating. And leave a comment about your experience.
And if you have a homemade fudge recipe, or a favorite Christmas Candy Recipe let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Holiday Recipe Ideas
- Cream Cheese Cherry Dessert
- Blackberry Merlot Wine Jelly
- Orange Chocolate Truffles with Pistachios
- Almond Chambord Raspberry Bars
- Sparkling Raspberry Prosecco Chambord Cocktail
Award Winning Old Fashioned Fudge Recipe
- 8 Tablespoons butter 1 stick
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- 12 ounces evaporated milk 1 can
- 12 ounce semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 12 ounce milk chocolate chips
- 14 ounces marshmallow creme 2 small 7 ounce containers.
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- Add butter, sugar and evaporated milk in heavy bottom good quality saucepan. I use my 6 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven.
- Turn heat on high. Start stirring and continually stir while the mixture comes to a rolling boil.
- Continue stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until it gets to a "soft ball" stage. Your candy thermometer should read between 234 – 240 degrees. If you don't have a candy thermometer, after 5 minutes drop a small dollop of the sugar mixture into a glass of cold water. If it forms a soft ball "clump" the sugar mixture is hot enough. If the ball doesn't form, cook for another minute or so.
- Remove from the pan from the heat; stir in the chocolate chips, and marshmallow creme. After a few stirs, add the vanilla. Mix until well blended then add nuts and stir to combine.
- Pour into a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan.
- Let the fudge completely cool at room temperature before cutting into squares.
Old Fashioned Fudge Recipe with Condensed Milk …It’s What’s For Christmas