Each year on May 12th, National Nutty Fudge Day tempts you to indulge in smooth chocolate fudge filled with crunchy nuts.
A Western confection, fudge is usually sweet and delicious. It consists of combining sugar, butter and milk, heating it to the correct temperature and then mixing it while it cools to a smooth, creamy consistency. There are many varieties and flavors of fudge, with chocolate being the most popular.
In 1886 a letter was found, written by Emelyn Bettersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, referring to fudge that her cousin had made, in Baltimore Maryland, selling it for 40 cents per pound. Hartridge was able to obtain the recipe, and in 1888, she made 30 pounds of fudge for the Vassar College Senior Auction.
In the late 19th century, some shops on Mackinac Island, Michigan, began to produce similar products as the Vassar College fudge and sold it to summer vacationers. Fudge is still made in some of the original shops there today.
Pecans and walnuts are the two commonly used nuts in fudge.
There are several origin stories floating around about fudge.
- One says that a young apprentice caramel maker was left stirring the pot while the boss was out serving customers. By the time he returned, the caramel was so grainy it was ruined – but the customers loved it, and named it Fudge after the apprentice who mistakenly made it.
- Another story goes, that a college lecturer in Virginia, was teaching a class in toffee making, and the temperature was not taken high enough resulting in what we now know as fudge. This, allegedly, is also where the term ‘to fudge something’ comes from.
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