What DO you do about fudge that hasn’t set?

A plate of fudge


Today’s post is brought to you as a public service. I am aware that this post might displease my regular followers who come here for mindless drivel and not useful information, but sometimes we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good.

Back in March I did a post entitled Just Another Morning where I described a rather manic, but typical, morning I had experienced. One of the things I mentioned in the long list of mishaps was that the fudge we made for my daughter to take to school hadn’t set. Since then, when I look at my blog stats, I notice a significant amount of people ending up on my blog after using search terms along the lines of ‘why hasn’t my fudge set’. They come here looking for a solution to their non-setting fudge, and all they find are my manic ramblings!

I’ve been feeling bad for all those people who may think they have been brought here under false pretenses, and I have therefore done some research, and I offer below some solutions to the fudge problems…

Options for what you can do with your unset fudge:

OPTION 1) Depending on how runny it is, you can either use it as a frosting for cakes, or a sauce for ice-cream.

OPTION 2) Freeze it overnight. Cut it into squares. Cover each square thickly in melted chocolate, ensuring no part of the fudge is exposed. Cross your fingers and hope that the chocolate sets firmly before the fudge starts to thaw, and later impress your friends as you present them with your soft-centred chocolates.

OPTION 3) Sieve together some powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and gradually work this into your unset fudge until it reaches the consistency of dough, then roll out and cut into squares, or shape into balls and then roll in powdered sugar (roll the balls in icing sugar, not yourself).

OPTION 4) If you think the reason it didn’t set was because you didn’t heat it to the right temperature, you could try putting it back into the pan and re-cooking.

How to make sure you get it right next time:

- Follow the recipe exactly. Cooked fudge, like any candy-making, is a pretty exact science, so ensure you measure ingredients carefully, add them in the right order, and heat to the right temperature (don’t guess, use a candy thermometer).

- Use a heavy based pan to prevent it burning on the bottom, and heat the mixture up to the required temperature nice and slowly.

- Once it has reached the required temperature, keep it on a rolling boil until it reaches the soft ball stage (a small amount dropped into cold water turns into a pliable ball).

- When you remove it from the heat, leave it in the pan to cool by a couple of degrees before stirring it or pouring it out.

If everything fails:

Give up on making cooked fudge, and search online for the many delicious recipes for no-cook fudge available. Yes, I could have posted some of those here, but I’m not going to do ALL the work for you.

Hope this information was helpful to any of you fudge visitors, do come back and visit any time! Oh, and bring fudge samples.

You’re welcome ;)

And for my regular visitors – normal service will resume shortly, thank you for your patience.

photo credit: jkblacker via photopin cc

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62 responses to “What DO you do about fudge that hasn’t set?

  1. I think option 2 is so inspired it merits undercooking your fudge on purpose!

  2. I was going to say that I don’t make fudge at all, and then I saw that you added that option for us, too. You thought of everything in your fudge discussion. :)

  3. Ha! We’ve all had times like these. I don’t usually make fudge, but my grandmother had it down to a science. Yum. I like all of your alternate plans for it–very creative. I think I would probably scoop it out with a spoon and enjoy it being imperfect. ; )

  4. This was hilarious, Vanessa! And at the risk of sounding either a) critical, or b) complimentary (!), I say this fits right in with your regular tone :) My first thought was make it into sauce–but that would not have helped the immediate problem, which was making fudge for your daughter’s class. I suggest this option: drive daughter to school that day. Stop by grocery store on the way and buy already-made fudge :)

    • Well I tried to add my regular tone to it, but I generally don’t provide practical cooking tips!

      It wasn’t fudge for her class as such, it was for an Easter project where they had to make something (craft, cooking, whatever!), so we really couldn’t have got away with buying some instead! She used the fudge as a cake topping instead.

  5. Can’t you just lick the pan and be done with it? Or throw ice cream in there and make a fudgie, creamy slurry? Or, go out and buy fudge at a store and save yourself all kinds of trouble?

    Yep, I’m The Answer Man.

  6. My mother was a great fudge maker. I think she was disappointed that I never really took to making candy! She never used a thermometer, but she had the method of testing in cold water down to an art. (It’s also bad if you cook it too long – then it will be all crumbly and dry and not really very nice to eat.) One time my mother was living in a small, furnished apartment while she was teaching school, and had only a very old refrigerator with a small freezer compartment meant to hold only a couple of ice cube trays. When her fudge wouldn’t harden, she put it in that freezer compartment. And darned if the fridge didn’t defrost all over the fudge. Ugh! It had to be thrown out!
    You can always make Eagle Brand fudge (no cook), but it really doesn’t taste the same.
    Did you ever try making divinity? It’s really tricky, but oh so good!

    • I love really good homemade fudge – American fudge tends to always be chocolate doesn’t it? Over here it’s more often not the chocolate variety. No I haven’t tried making divinity, I’m not sure I even know what it is.

      • Usually when an American says fudge, she means the chocolate variety, not exclusively. BTW, we used to make 4amwriter’s marshmallow creme fudge, too – I forgotten about it! But we also made penuche fudge – the brown sugar variety. Google “penuche fudge” and you get links for recipes plus some scumptious pictures. And Google “divinity recipe,” too. Divinity is a beautiful, white, fluffy candy made by beating egg whites stiff and then pouring boiling sugar syrup (cooked to a crack stage) over them while beating furiously. At the last minute you add chopped nuts and if you don’t hurry it will set up in the bowl! Or else if you didn’t cook the syrup long enough, again it won’t harden and then you have to use it for cake frosting (which isn’t half bad either!)

  7. Q: Fudge repair is a pink job? Promise I’m not offended but thanks to your post I’ve taken some delight in asking my partner if whatever task he’s taken on is a pink or blue job (eg, finding the remote, booking a babysitter) and hear his total confusion of an answer. Nicola

  8. I’m on vacation today and treating myself, so I may just have to roll myself in sugar! :D

    Funny, cute, informative post, Vanessa. I liked your idea for covering the fudge in regular chocolate, and presenting it later with a surprise center. I’ll have to pass that on to my candy-making auntie!

  9. Or just add a half pint of scotch to it. That should work well and if it doesn’t, just drink the recipe.

  10. Good fix suggestions, Vanessa. Entertaining too. I wish I had those options in front of me when I used to make fudge back in cave man days. I lucked out about 50% of the time but can’t recall what I did with the other 50% when I ended up with runny fudge. Hm. I bet my mom did something with it but I didn’t pay attention. If I had, I might have had another suggestion for your list.

    My favourite on your list is #2. Mm chocolate. Now THAT’S a novel ideal Maybe I should try my hand at fudge again. Or not.

    • 50% is quite a high failure rate, if that’s typical then it’s good to have a range of options for what to do with the runny fudge! I wonder if there’s another option of adding flour and eggs to the runny fudge, then baking it to make a fudge cake. That would need some experimentation on quantities and timing etc, but might be a fun experiment!

  11. Seeing all of us bloggers rolling around in powdered sugar might make for some great laughs and blackmail-worthy photos! :)

    Ice-cream topping is a great idea, but I’m all for just spooning it out and eating it as is. Mmm, fudge. :)

  12. You are always a wealth of information. Writing . . . fudge . . . seagulls. (I went back to check to make sure the seagull post was from you! My mind is a sieve.

  13. I don’t suppose you get Marshmallow Fluff over in your neck of the woods? There is a no-fail fudge recipe on the back that I use. I guess it’s cheater fudge, but you don’t need to announce that when you serve it at your next holiday party.

    Thanks for all the great tips. Now I need fudge.

    • We actually have a jar of Marshmallow Fluff in our cupboard! It’s unusual for us to have it because it’s not a very common product over here, I think it’s only in the last few years it’s been available here, and this is only the second time I’ve bought it here. I do remember making fudge with it in the states though, but the jar I have here doesn’t have the fudge recipe on it.

  14. I say if your fudge doesn’t set, use a spoon….yeah, and add the scotch.

  15. Here was me thinking that you had a batch that was good to go! As soon as I saw the title of this post I thought – pour it over ice cream! :) YUM! Fudge and tablet are so bloody difficult – I guess when you have a sugar thermometer it makes a positive difference! Also, it’s the type of food that makes my chest hurt just looking at the ingredients boiling up…

    Lol! Still, I’ll eat it…! ;)

    • What’s tablet? Is that something Scottish? I want to make the divinity that termite speaker mentioned in her comments, it sounds yummy!

      • WHAT?!? Vanessa, surely you’re extracting the Michael!? You don’t know what Tablet is? If you give me your snail mail I’ll send you some. It’s so incredibly bad for you but it can be oh so tasty… do you like macaroons? Or have you not heard of them…? lol! :)

  16. You should start selling fudge. You could make a fortune if people visit your blog because they CANNOT make fudge. Sell it to them!

    I’ll have 200g please :)

  17. Option 5: grab a spoon. And maybe a bib.

  18. Pingback: What do you do about fudge that hasn’t set? | Sugarness

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  20. I ended up here by searching about fudge that didn’t set. Great post. Looks like I have peanut butter ice cream topping. Or frosting. Time to bake a cake! Thanks for this great post.

    • Loads of people end up here by searching about fudge that didn’t set, but I think you’re the first that has left a comment! (The other comments are from regular followers of my blog). Anyway, glad you liked it, and thank you for commenting!

  21. Thank you so much. I’l try and reheat it in a few minutes!!

  22. I like the idea of option two and three. Thanks so much!

  23. Pingback: I Am The Wise Woman of Fudge | Vanessa-Jane Chapman

  24. I had to come over to see the latest rage myself! … meanwhile, eat it with a spoon!

  25. I was pretty bummed when my chocolate fudge didn’t set. Then I had a brilliant idea (based on a rum ball recipe my Mom used to make)… I wizzed up some nilla wafers in the blender and stirred them into the soft fudge to stiffen it up then rolled into small balls and rolled those balls in finely shredded coconut. Yummers!! I imagine you could use Oreo’s too. Quite lovely and delicious indeed.

    • What an excellent idea. When things go wrong with a recipe, I like to see it as an opportunity to get creative and turn it into something else! Those sound good – I imagine any finely chopped nuts could work instead of the coconut too.

  26. Thanks Vanessa my thick but not set fudge is making me sad.made it last night and I let it set whole night it feels/looks like toffee😞but thanks again to you my search led me here and m gonna roll it in cocoa powder and make it into squares ….brilliant ideas bless u

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