What The Fudge: Tracing The History Of This Gooey Dessert
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Although the origin of fudge is unknown, it may be traced back to 1886 CE. The exact origins of fudge and who invented it are unknown, but some experts say the term "fudge" was coined after a batch of caramels went bad, causing the cry "Oh fudge!" The majority of food historians believe that fudge as we know it now originated in the United States.

Fudge is a type of crystalline candy. Unlike many other varieties of candy, such as taffy and caramels, which do not require crystallisation, fudge requires crystallisation. Because the crystals are so fine that they don't taste or feel gritty, this method produces a candy that is solid but smooth. To make sugar crystals of a suitable size, the fudge mixture, which must comprise sugar, butter, and milk, must be properly prepared and cooled. If the process isn't done correctly, the crystals will develop too early and grow too large, or they will never form at all, resulting in a caramel-like confection.

Fudge may have existed before the United States was founded, and specialists are keen to point out the parallels between fudge and tablet, a Scottish dessert. Tablet was first referenced in Lady Grisell Baillie's Household Book, which was composed between 1692 and 1733 CE. Tablets are made in the same manner that fudge is made: sugar, milk, and butter are cooked until they reach the soft-ball stage at 235 to 240 degrees F (113 to 116 degrees C), then withdrawn from the heat and allowed to cool. Tablet crystallisation occurs, but huge crystals form, giving the candy a gritty and brittle texture that differs from fudge's velvety, smooth texture.

Emelyn Battersby Hartridge records the first fudge sale in a letter written in 1886, claiming that a classmate's cousin had sold fudge for 40 cents per pound in Baltimore. Ms Hartridge wrote in 1888, while still a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, that she baked up to 30 pounds of fudge for the Senior auction. Fudge became popular at Vassar rapidly, and recipes for the treat soon appeared at other women's institutions. The so-called original recipe was altered by Smith and Wellesley universities into their own variants.

White sugar, milk, unsweetened chocolate, and butter were all required in Vassar's recipe. By adding marshmallows to the original recipe, the Wellesley College invention prevents the fudge from collapsing after cooling. The Smith College recipe was the first to add more butter, as well as brown and white sugar, molasses, and vanilla, to the original. Each of these dishes is known for its delicate nature. Corn syrup, which inhibits crystal formation, changed the history of fudge forever when it was initially employed for failsafe recipes.

Since the invention of fudge, people have been manufacturing their own versions all around the country. Mackinac Island, a small island off the coast of Michigan, claims to be the world's fudge capital, with over a dozen fudge businesses. The island is only about 4.35 square miles in size. Mackinac Island once had a fudge master who provided a lifetime supply of fudge to anyone willing to pay $2,250 for the service upfront. Another interesting fact regarding fudge is that on October 23rd, 2010, the Northwest Fudge Factory in Levack, Ontario, Canada, produced the world's largest slab of fudge, weighing 5,760 pounds. For decades, Chutters (a candy store in Littleton, New Hampshire) has been manufacturing handcrafted fudge in over a dozen unique and exciting varieties.