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A richly-flavoured fondant slab confection made by boiling sugar with milk to the soft-ball stage so that the sugar is partly caramelised, and then beating the mixture as it cools to prevent large crystals from forming so as to obtain a soft consistency. Made in a plain form or with added flavourings or, more usually, with fruit, chocolate or nut additions.

Varieties of fudge, Padstow, Cornwall
Image: "benjgibbs"

Fudge is not ancient. It almost certainly originated in the USA, the generally-accepted (though not undisputed) story traces its popularity to 1886 and one Emelyn Battersby Hartridge. A student at Vassar College in New York, she had gotten the receipt from a classmate's cousin whose failed attempts to make caramel earned it the name of 'fudge'. In its home country 'fudge' is pretty much synonymous with 'chocolate fudge'. English practice is distinctive in that 'fudge' means a richly flavoured product, commonly with substantial embedded chunks of fruit etc, of which chocolate is just one of many options, often supplied from dedicated 'fudge shops'.

Original Receipt from 'Chelmsford Chronicle' - Friday 24 December 1926

A delicious American sweet is Fudge It is made (but not often to perfection) in this country. Here is recipe which is rather difficult to execute, but makes the best possible fudge. Take

3 cups of sugar.
¾ cup rich milk.
2 ½ squares unsweetened chocolate.

Put the sugar, the chocolate into small pieces, and the milk a saucepan, and stir steadily until the chocolate melts. Then boil until mixture forms a jelly-like mass when tried in cold water. Pour on marble slab and work with a spatula until of consistency to knead, l then knead with the hands until creamy Put in a slightly buttered pan and press evenly with the back of the hand, cool slightly and cut in squares.


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