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For chocolate lovers, few things are better than the smooth, creamy taste of chocolate fudge. This indulgent treat is a candy confection that requires the right conditions and temperatures to form properly. Fudge starts off as sugar and chocolate boiled into a syrup until micro sugar crystals start to form, giving the fudge its smooth texture. You can easily end up with coarse, grainy fudge however, if you don't cook it to the right temperature, or even if you stir it at the wrong time. Timing and temperature are the key factors in making smooth, creamy fudge.
Don't stir the fudge while it is cooking. During the cooking process, very tiny crystals form from the sugar, giving the fudge its smooth texture. When you stir the fudge it encourages the sugar crystals to attach to each other and get bigger, or crystallize, which is what causes the fudge to become grainy.
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Avoid scraping the bottom and sides of the pan during cooking. You may think you are helping to prevent burning by scraping the bottom, or avoiding waste by scraping the chocolate from the sides, but this chocolate has already developed a different texture than the loose, melted chocolate in the pot and will become lumpy and grainy if you try to stir it in. However, you should use a pastry brush dipped in warm water to wipe away any sugar crystals that are forming on the sides of the pan.
Use a candy thermometer to avoid overcooking fudge. A candy thermometer is crucial in achieving the right texture for fudge. The fudge should be cooked to between 235 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit in order to reach the soft-ball stage, meaning it will form a flexible ball when dropped in water and melt in your hand. Cooking it further will cause it to become firmer, drier and more like hard candy, resulting in a grainy, chocolate mess. A simple clip-on candy thermometer will help you keep an eye on the temperature.
Add marshmallow creme to the fudge. Some fudge recipes for call for marshmallow creme because it contains corn syrup and egg whites, both of which prevent the sugar from crystallizing and becoming grainy. The added fat from the marshmallow cream also helps make the texture of the fudge extra smooth.
When making fudge, always choose high-quality chocolate because it tends to be smoother in texture.