This chocolate fudge is incredibly easy to make from scratch from chocolate, evaporated milk, marshmallows, vanilla, and sugar. An old-fashioned candy that still has a place in modern gift-giving…though we won’t judge if you save it all for yourself.
When I was in my full-blown homemade-Christmas-celebration years, I would make lots and lots of candy. The candy was always a hit simply because most people had never tasted homemade. Some of it came from my childhood—Mom’s favorites were popcorn balls, bourbon balls, and divinity. Of these, I liked only popcorn balls, which I often used as tree decorations. Divinity was too sugary—even for me—and I have never liked any sweet that is flavored with alcohol. Most of the other candies I made were recipes I had gathered from old cookbooks or good home cooks. Peanut brittle and chocolate fudge were at the top of my list. Of all of these goodies, chocolate fudge is the only one that I continue to make every Christmas. Now with bittersweet chocolate and nuts for me, and with no nuts for my daughter-in-law Laurel.–Judith Choate
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chips or a block chopped into small pieces)
- 2 cups toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
- 10 tablespoons (5 oz) unsalted butter cut into pieces, at room temperature, plus more for the baking pan and as needed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 20 regular-size store-bought or homemade marshmallows (“regular” as in not “mini” and not “jumbo,” but the usual large-ish size you snatch up to make s’mores; 5 1/4 ounces/150 grams)
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- Two (5-ounce) cans evaporated milk
- Lightly butter a 6-cup baking pan such as an 8- or 9-inch square pan or an 11-by-7-inch rectangular pan.
- In a large, heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate with the nuts, if using, butter, and vanilla.
- Combine the marshmallows and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in the evaporated milk and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continuing to stir pretty much constantly, boil the mixture for exactly 6 minutes. You want the sugar to be dissolved and the marshmallows to be completely melted and incorporated into the chocolate.
- Immediately remove the pot from the heat and, beating constantly with a wooden spoon, pour the hot mixture into the bowl with the chocolate. Beat vigorously for a few minutes, or until the fudge is creamy. (If the fudge begins to set, beat in a little extra butter.) Quickly scrape the fudge into the prepared pan, spreading the fudge evenly with the back of the spoon or a spatula.
- Let the fudge cool on the counter for at least 1 hour before cutting the candy into small squares. (The time it takes the fudge to set will be different if you used a different size marshmallow). Store the fudge in layers, separated by waxed paper, at cool room temperature for up to 1 week, or in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Serve at room temperature.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Who can resist chocolate fudge? This recipe was foolproof and pretty darn simple–just basic ingredients, no candy thermometer necessary. The fudge was nice and creamy, and especially delicious with the nuts. This would make great holiday gifts packaged in cellophane bags.
I used a rectangular glass pan, which I made sure held 6 cups, and lightly buttered it per the directions. The fudge was easy to cut and remove from the pan. I was confused when the mixture began to boil and my marshmallows weren’t completely melted, but it worked out perfectly. Just watch the timer for the “exact 6 minutes” and make sure you keep stirring (you can burn a few calories before you recoup them eating the fudge).
This fudge won’t fail you. It’s smooth and creamy and just chocolatey and sweet enough to satisfy any cravings. It’s also really easy to make. I’ll definitely be making this recipe often.
The only drawback is waiting for the fudge to cool, so I stuck it in the fridge to speed things up. I’d suggest toasting the walnuts: Spread them on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 350°F (176°C) oven for about 15 minutes, or until the walnuts just start to brown, then remove and let cool. I used a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and ended up with 35 pieces of fudge, each about 2 inches square and 3/4 inch thick. Although the 6 minute boiling time isn’t critical, make sure you stir continually until the sugar dissolves, the marshmallows melt, and you get a smooth, sauce-like consistency (mine took about 8 minutes). You don’t want the sugars to caramelize.
Sorry, mom, I found a fudge recipe that’s better than yours. Making this rich, delicious, chocolatey fudge is super easy. I used 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and skipped the nuts, and the fudge was absolutely perfect–creamy and not too sweet. Just make sure of the following:
1. Have your 8- or 9-inch-square pan prepped and ready. Lining it with a parchment sling also makes it easier to lift the fudge out of the pan.
2. Use a large bowl for the butter and chocolate–you’re going to need room to beat in all that molten sugar.
3. Choose a heavy pot that holds at least 4 quarts because those marshmallows are going to grow. When a recipe doesn’t specify, I usually grossly underestimate the pot size needed. This time, I went big and used my Dutch oven, which worked great.
4. Stir continuously so the sugar doesn’t burn. It will turn a lovely light caramel color when you’re finished.
Originally published December 18, 2020
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I followed the directions exactly, and the fudge was chocolatey, silken, and delicious. Fudge has never been on my cooking “to do” list, but with a recipe this simple, I’ll definitely be making it more often. I love its bittersweet chocolate flavor (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chips). It was dangerous making this at home alone; licking the bowl is a tough job, but someone has to do it! The hardest part of the recipe is being patient while waiting for the fudge to cool.
The second time around I played a little with this recipe, reducing the amount of sugar to 2 1/2 cups from 4 and using 8 tablespoons butter instead of 10 tablespoons. The end result was still sweet, fudgy, and delicious. The only difference I could barely detect was the texture and mouthfeel wasm’t quite as silky smooth, but it was still outstanding and not at all grainy. My family still loved it and I still think it’s a winner of a recipe.