Shopping is one of the great pleasures of life! Who can say that they aren't thrilled when they find that perfect purchase. Of course all the wonderful goodies that we can buy in the shops isn't what is really important in life, but they can bring a smile to our faces and that can't be bad!
Fudge is a very popular type of confectionery that is typically
very sweet and very rich. It is usually
made as a rectangular slab of fudge, and then cubed and sold loose by weight or
in boxes that make great gifts. Alternatively, fudge can be made in a log shape
and sliced. In the UK you can buy boxes of fudge in many popular tourist
destinations, and quite often the boxes have a picture of the place you have
visited on the lid to remind you of where you have been, or if given as a gift,
to show the recipient what a beautiful place you have visited. The main ingredients for fudge are sugar,
butter, cream and flavourings. The
ingredients are heated to the soft-ball stage (around 240 degrees
fahrenheit/116 degrees centigrade), and then the mixture is beaten as it cools
to ensure that the consistency is wonderfully smooth and creamy. Nobody wants to eat lumpy fudge, and quality
fudge has a smooth consistent texture.
The early recipes for fudge were notoriously difficult to
make, and it is believed that the invention of fudge actually came from a batch
of caramels that went wrong. It might
sound like a simple operation to heat the mixture of ingredients and then beat
it while it cools, but in those days before accurate sugar thermometers were
available, many batches of fudge had to be discarded because the fudge was
either undercooked or overcooked or ‘crystallized’ because the mixture had not
been stirred well enough. As time went on, more foolproof recipes for fudge
were developed that could successfully be used at home. These new fudge recipes contained corn syrup,
because the corn syrup prevented crystallization and ensured that the fudge
would have the desired smooth and creamy texture. Recipes for fudge were also produced that
used sweet condensed milk, marshmallow crème or other similar ingredients
rather than regular milk or cream, as again they had a better guarantee that
the fudge possessed a uniformly smooth texture.
The ingredients of modern fudge are very similar to an older
type of confectionery known as ‘tablet’, which was mentioned in Lady Grisell
Baillie’s ‘The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie’ in Scotland between 1692
and 1733. However, the birthplace of
modern fudge is adjudged to be America and one of the first mentions of fudge
in America is in a letter written by a female student at Vassar College in
1886. She wrote that her classmate’s
cousin had been making fudge in Baltimore and had sold it for 40 cents a pound.
The student got hold of the recipe for fudge and made 30lbs of fudge to be sold
at the 1888 Vassar College Senior Auction.
The fudge was very popular and, and the fudge recipe went on to be used
at the college for many years. Making
fudge spread to some of the other women’s colleges in America, and both
Wellesley and Smith have their own fudge recipes dating from the late 19th
and early 20th centuries. Further proof of the US being the
birthplace of modern fudge comes from Harmsworth’s Household Encyclopaedia,
published in London in 1920, which states that fudge is ‘a sweetmeat that hails
from America, but is now popular in other countries also’.
What Flavours of Fudge Are There?
Nowadays, you can find fudge in practically any flavour that
you can think of. American fudge is
traditionally chocolate flavoured, and you can get milk chocolate fudge, dark
chocolate fudge and even white chocolate fudge. In the States, Hot Fudge is a
more liquid version of thick, syrupy chocolate fudge that is poured over the
top of ice cream, desserts and cakes. In the UK, fudge is more commonly caramel
flavoured and in Devon and Cornwall they produce fudge made from their
delicious Clotted Cream. Some of the
flavours of fudge that I have seen for
sale are chocolate caramel, banoffee, rum and raisin, toffee, strawberries and
cream, fruit and nut, lemon meringue, maple and walnut, key lime, vanilla, mint
and rocky road. Is your mouth watering
yet, because mine is at the thought of all that scrumptious fudge! You can buy fudge at a lot of retail outlets,
especially in tourist destinations or gift shops. Handmade fudge is often for sale at markets, being
sold loose by weight, so look out for that fudge stall! But the most convenient way of choosing fudge
is probably by purchasing it online. Amazon has a very wide range of fudge to buy
online, offering gift boxes of fudge in many different sizes and flavours. You can also find fudge kits for a very easy
way to make your own fudge and fudge recipe books.
Fudge makes the perfect gift for that friend or loved one
with a sweet tooth, or why not choose some fudge as a special treat for
yourself? So whether you want to buy some
fudge or learn to make your own homemade fudge, you will find everything that
you need to online.