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Making fudge is a delicious way to show your loved ones that you care. However, sometimes it can be difficult to get the consistency just right. So why is your fudge so hard, and what are the best ways to fix and prevent it?
In general, your fudge could get hard if it’s overcooked on high heat for a long period of time. Overcooking makes the water evaporate which will remove moisture from the fudge, making it hard. Prevent this by cooking the fudge over low heat and stirring constantly to make sure that it doesn’t burn.
In this article, I will go over some of the most common reasons for hard fudge and how to fix them. I will also give some tips on how to prevent your fudge from turning out hard in the first place. Let’s get started!
Why Did My Fudge Come Out Too Hard?
Fudge is a wonderful and decadent dessert. The texture should always be slightly firm where it can withstand the cut of a knife but more on the creamy, soft side as you eat it. If your fudge is super hard that a knife can’t cut through it, let’s figure out why.
*By the way, if you’re looking for a good mold to make your fudge in, I’ve recently come across the perfect Silicone Fudge Mold made from small rectangles. This Silicone Mold was perfect for my fudge bites dessert! You can check out this Fudge Mold on Amazon!
Here are the main reasons your fudge might come out too hard:
You Overcooked It Or Cooked It For Too Long
The major reason for hard fudge is overcooking it or cooking it for too long. When this happens, the liquid ingredients evaporate and the fudge becomes too thick and dry.
To prevent this, cook the fudge over low heat and stir constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. You can also remove it from the heat before it reaches the desired consistency and let it cool down to thicken.
You Didn’t Add Enough Liquid Ingredients
Another common reason for hard fudge is not adding enough liquid ingredients. This can happen if you use too much sugar or not enough butter.
You want to make sure you add ingredients as required by the recipe to avoid this problem. You can also try adding more liquid ingredients such as milk or cream if your fudge is too thick.
You Didn’t Stir The Fudge Correctly
An incorrect stirring process especially after taking the fudge off the heat can cause the fudge to become hard. You want to make sure you stir the fudge until it’s smooth and glossy.
After removing the fudge from the heat, let it cool until you see the surface starting to set.
Only then should you constantly stir until it thickens and becomes glossy. Stirring too quickly will make the fudge lose heat faster and its glossy texture and become hard.
You Used The Wrong Cooking Temperature
I have occasionally had fudge that’s come out hard because I didn’t cook it at the correct temperature. The right temperature for cooking fudge is between 234-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your fudge doesn’t reach this temperature, it will be too soft and won’t set properly. If it goes above this temperature, the sugars will start to caramelize and the fudge will become hard.
Use a candy thermometer to make sure you are cooking at the correct temperature.
To do this, I prefer using a thermometer. I recently came across a Candy Thermometer with a Hanging Hook that works perfectly for this! I use this thermometer for pretty much anything I make in the kitchen that requires knowing the temperature. You can check out this thermometer on Amazon!
You Let It Cool Too Soon
Letting the fudge cool too soon can also make it hard. You want to make sure you let the fudge cool slowly so that it has time to set properly.
After your fudge has reached the softball stage, that’s when you want to remove it from the heat. Then, let it cool on the counter until it reaches about 109 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the cooling process is disrupted, say, by incorrect stirring, the fudge can become hard.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about The Best Ways To Thicken Your Fudge When It’s Runny. This article breaks down everything you can do to thicken your fudge the right way. You can check out this article here!
Should Fudge Be Hard Or Soft?
As a whole, fudge is a crystalline candy which means that it should be soft, yet firm enough to hold its shape. You should be able to easily bite into it without it being too crumbly. If a knife can cut through it normally and the fudge still retains its shape without squishing, it’s perfect.
However, it should not be too soft that it’s runny or mushy. If your fudge is too hard, it means that the sugar crystals haven’t formed properly and it hasn’t set correctly.
You can test the texture by cutting with a knife. If there is a lot of resistance or pieces break off as you cut then your fudge is too hard. If you start cutting the fudge and it starts to squish and ooze on the sides, then it is too soft.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about Why Your Fudge Became So Soft. This article breaks down all the reasons why your fudge is soft as well as how to fix and prevent it from happening again. You can check out this article here!
How Do You Fix Hard Fudge?
As a general rule, hard fudge can be fixed by recooking it. Put the fudge into a pot with a little bit of water over low heat. Cook it until it reaches the soft-ball stage and then remove it from the heat. The water will rehydrate the dry, hard fudge and allow it to soften.
Here’s a video I found about the best way to fix hard fudge:
The best way to fix hard fudge is to add a little water to it and reheat it. This will reintroduce moisture to the fudge which allows it to soften up.
You want to follow the cooking instructions specified in the recipe to avoid overcooking it or not cooking it long enough.
After removing it from the heat, let it cool on the counter until it reaches about 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the other steps to bring the fudge to the correct consistency.
*Side Note: You might also want to know How To Make Fudge Without Condensed Milk. I recently wrote an article talking about what you must know when Making Fudge Without Condensed Milk, which you can check out here!
How Do You Prevent The Fudge From Getting Hard?
To prevent your fudge from getting hard, you will first need to add the right amount of wet ingredients. Too much sugar can make the fudge hard, so be precise when measuring the sugar. It is also important to make sure you are cooking the fudge at the correct temperature.
You will also want to cook the fudge at the correct temperature. Use a candy thermometer to make sure the fudge reaches between 234-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
Knowing how to properly stir the fudge is also key in preventing it from becoming hard. Stir until the fudge becomes smooth and glossy.
After removing it from the heat, let it cool on the counter until it reaches about 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, stir constantly until it thickens and becomes glossy.
In general, you want to follow the recipe to the letter to avoid any issues.
Why Is My Fudge Not Softening?
As a general rule, overcooking fudge will make it hard. So, if your fudge is not softening, it means that it was either cooked for too long or at too high of a temperature. Water evaporates when cooking fudge so if it over-evaporates, the fudge will have no moisture and be rock hard.
Overbeating fudge can also make it hard. You want to make sure you stir the fudge until it’s smooth and glossy. Also, you may have neglected the cooling process which is key in allowing the fudge to set properly.
Allow the fudge to cool down a bit before you start beating it. If you start beating it while it’s too hot, it’ll end up rock-hard.
I recently came across an 80-Cavity Square Candy Silicone Molds on Amazon. This candy mold works perfectly for hardening Leftover Melted Chocolate while giving you 80 potential chocolate candies to enjoy.
How long do you boil fudge to get to soft ball stage?
As a rule of thumb, it takes about 8 to 12 minutes for the fudge to reach the softball stage. You may want to use a candy thermometer to check the temperature so that you don’t overcook or undercook it. Make sure to reach a temperature of about 234 degrees Fahrenheit.
How long do you beat fudge?
Generally speaking, fudge should be beaten for around 5-10 minutes. You want to make sure you beat the fudge until it’s smooth and glossy. Beating it helps agitate the fudge which forms crystals. The more you beat, the more crystals form which is essential for a softer fudge.
How long does it take for fudge to set?
As a general rule, once you have stirred the fudge until it’s thick and glossy, it takes at least 3 hours for it to set. However, it’s best to let it sit overnight so that it has time to properly set. Make sure to leave it uncovered at room temperature as it sets to allow all heat to be released.
How long does it take fudge to harden?
Fudge tends to take about 3-12 hours to harden which depends on a lot of factors. Allowing it to set at room temperature generally takes longer. If you want to set it quicker, allow it to cool at room temperature for at least an hour, then cover it with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator.