Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jenna. Jenna Wonders, “Who created fudge?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jenna!
Do you dream of floating in a sea of chocolate syrup? How about strolling through a forest of chocolate candy bars? Maybe you love the smell of brownies in the oven. If you’re a chocolate lover, there’s one type of candy you’re unlikely to resist—fudge!
Of course, fudge comes in many flavors other than chocolate. There’s peanut butter, rocky road, caramel, maple, and so many more. Whatever your favorite flavor, there’s likely a fudge for you to enjoy.
Have you ever WONDERed who invented this delicious candy we call fudge? The answer isn’t clear. While most people agree that it was created in the late-1800s, several theories exist as to how fudge came to be.
Many people think of fudge as an all-American treat. However, some think it may have been inspired by a Scottish candy called a tablet. Tablets are made from sugar, condensed milk, and butter—the same ingredients as fudge. However, the Scottish candy is grainier and less rich than fudge.
Another theory is that fudge was invented by accident. The story goes, a baker was trying to make chocolate caramels. However, they didn’t get the recipe quite right. When the candy came out as the creamy treat we know today, they said, “Oh, fudge!” and that’s how the candy got its name.
The first recorded mention of fudge came from 1888. That year, a student at Vassar College named Emelyn Battersby Hartridge wrote a letter about the candy. She claimed to have received a recipe from a friend’s cousin. That same year, Hartridge made a large batch of fudge to sell at a school fundraiser.
Soon, fudge making was a common activity among college-age people. In fact, students at several schools across the U.S. eventually came up with their own recipes. These included Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith Colleges, and the recipes are in tradition today.
Fudge is now a popular candy across the globe. However, one island claims to be the fudge capital of the world. Known as Mackinac Island, it sits on Lake Huron and is home to at least a dozen shops that sell fudge. Considering the island’s small size (its population is only around 500 people), that’s quite impressive! During the peak tourism season, Mackinac Island produces about 10,000 pounds of fudge per day.
Don’t worry though, you don’t have to travel to Mackinac Island to eat great fudge. You can make it at home with help from an adult. Of course, you’ll need a few supplies and ingredients: a saucepan, candy thermometer, butter, sugar, milk, and flavoring.
The secrets to making great fudge lie in correctly heating and stirring the mixture. First, heat the ingredients to 236 °F (113 °C). Then, remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool to 110 °F (43 °C). Next, it’s time to stir! Use a wooden spoon to stir until the fudge thickens. Finally, pour the fudge into a pan and cut it into squares before it hardens completely.
Do you have a favorite flavor of fudge? Have you ever made the candy at home with your family? Like other cooking and baking activities, it can be a great way to bond with family members!
Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6 CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA,SL.4, CCRA.L.1