Microwave fudge-making requires few cooking implements. Even better, it eliminates many of the steps that — if not done perfectly — can turn fudge grainy or gloppy. Rather than babysitting your sauce pan to make sure the mixture reaches the “soft ball” stage, you don’t have to do much more than make sure your chocolate pieces melt completely. The hardest part may well be waiting for the fudge to chill until it’s ready to eat.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need a microwave-safe bowl for melting chocolate, as well as a wooden spoon to stir the mixture. A square or rectangular baking pan works best for the firming-up stage. Aluminum foil can be helpful in getting the fudge out of the pan, while butter is the preferred ingredient for greasing the pan or foil. For traditional fudge, gather semisweet chocolate chips or pieces, as well as vanilla extract. Using sweetened, condensed milk keeps this quick fudge-making method speedy, because it eliminates the need for beating regular milk and powdered sugar together. Optional ingredients include nuts, marshmallows, coconut flakes, dried fruit and peanut butter chips.
To prepare the pan, start by generously buttering the bottom and sides so you won’t have to chisel the fudge out later. Alternatively, line the pan with aluminum foil, extending the edges over the sides of the pan, and then butter the foil. This step allows you to lift the fudge out of the pan and then peel the foil away.
Mix It Up
Recipes vary, but usually a whole standard-size bag of semisweet chocolate chips, along with a whole can of sweetened condensed milk, are used for microwave fudge, along with a spoonful of vanilla extract. Heat the chocolate, condensed milk and vanilla in the microwave on medium or high for 1 to 2 minutes. After you remove the bowl from the microwave, stir the mixture until the ingredients are well-combined. If the chocolate hasn’t melted fully, return the mixture to the microwave for 15-second intervals until it’s melted.
If you’re making a fudge with additional ingredients, add them after you’ve melted the chocolate, but before the mixture goes into the pan. Plan on including about one-quarter the amount of chopped walnuts, pecans or other nuts of the amount of chocolate pieces in the recipe. Miniature marshmallows can go into the mix instead of or along with the nuts, at about the same rate. Alternatively, add dried fruit or coconut flakes, along with or instead of the nuts.
The Big Chill
Once your fudge mix is combined, it’s time to spoon it into the buttered or foiled pan. Spread the fudge mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top over. Next, cover the top with plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator. Your fudge will need to chill for about 2 hours before it becomes firm.
If you’ve used the aluminum foil method, when the fudge has chilled, grip both ends of the foil and lift the square of fudge out of the pan. Then peel the foil from the bottom. Whether the fudge is still in the pan or is lifted onto a work surface, now is the time to cut the fudge block into squares. The rich treat is often served as 1-inch bites, but you can go larger, if you wish.
The Layered Look
For a double-layered fudge, begin as you normally would for single-layer fudge, including putting it in the refrigerator to set. Traditionally, a two-layer fudge features the chocolate layer on the bottom, but you can flip the script if you wish. Make the second layer exactly as you did the first, but use a different kind of baking chip — for example, peanut butter or white chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate. Once the second mixture is melted and well-combined, pour it over the semi-firm first layer. Then return it to the refrigerator for about 2 hours, before slicing into individual pieces.
References and ResourcesCandymaking; Ruth A. Kendrick and Pauline H. Atkinson
Nestle: Foolproof Chocolate Fudge