Fudge and chocolate, although occasionally used interchangeably, are not the same. Fudge and chocolate both are used as the names of candies and as descriptions of various other desserts. While fudge might contain chocolate, chocolate does not contain fudge, even though chocolate desserts can be called "fudgy," based on their flavour and texture. Knowing the differences between chocolate and fudge in the kitchen and in the candy store will prevent a cooking mishap.
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Fudge began as a mistake, but like some of the greatest inventions, this mistake proved profitable. Some historians believe a fouled batch of fondant made by boiling milk and sugar and beating air into the mixture resulted in fudge. This mixture is stirred constantly to prevent crystallisation and to keep the texture smooth. Chopped chocolate is added to the dense candy during cooking for flavour, but chocolate is not required to make fudge. Fudge has a rich flavour and dense texture and is served in small, 1-inch squares for eating.
Chocolate candy comes from grinding cocoa beans and separating out the cocoa powder and cocoa liquor. The two are combined again with other ingredients such as sugar and flavourings to produce chocolate candy bars. Milk is added to make milk chocolate, and the sugar amount used determines if the chocolate is sweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate or unsweetened baking chocolate. Chocolate candy is available in bars and chips for eating and baking. It has a sweet flavour and more concentrated chocolate flavour than fudge, which only uses chocolate as an added flavouring ingredient.
Cakes and Brownies
Cakes labelled as chocolate fudge cake are not the same as chocolate cakes. These rich desserts require twice the amount of chocolate called for in a traditional chocolate cake recipe, enhancing the flavour. A chocolate fudge cake will have a denser texture than a traditional chocolate cake from the extra fat in the added chocolate. Like fudge cake, fudgy brownies have a higher proportion of chocolate in them, but they also use less flour for a rich, dense square, similar in flavour and texture to a piece of fudge candy.
Dessert toppings might be labelled chocolate syrup or fudge sauce. The ingredients in each determine the name given. Fudge sauce is thick and viscous from the addition of milk or butter. Fudge sauce is usually warmed to thin it enough for pouring over sundaes or other desserts. Chocolate syrup is thin, using only cocoa powder and occasionally chocolate liquor for flavouring. It does not need to be heated to be poured.
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