I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Fudge

One 8" square pan, 36 or more pieces


This is genuine, long-cooking, cantankerous, temperamental fudge, that yields a dark chocolate, very creamy candy. You will need a candy thermometer; mine is mounted on a metal frame and made by Taylor, and it works very well for this. You'll also need a broad-bladed, heat-resistant, plastic or wooden spatula for stirring, and a pastry brush. To the surprise of no one, some of my methods in this recipe are a bit unorthodox, but one thing hasn't changed: humid days are not good for making this type of fudge, nor are days when you're short on patience or time. The finished candy can be frozen very successfully, or refrigerated for up to a week, but I like to bring it to room temperature before serving. You can also store this at room temperature (airtight) for up to a few days. I wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap, which helps to keep the fudge from drying out.

If you like your fudge with nuts, have ready 3/4 cup of chopped, toasted, cooled walnuts or pecans. When the fudge begins to lose its gloss, just before you turn it into the prepared pan, stir in the nuts until evenly distributed. Fudge makes a wonderful gift and a great holiday treat.


3-2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sifted or strained
   unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
Pinch salt
5 squares (5 ozs.) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup light corn syrup, preferably at room temperature
Ice and cold water
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small bits and
   chilled,covered, until needed
1 Tbsp. vanilla


Thoroughly butter the sides of a heavy-bottomed, nonreactive 4-quart pot. If your candy thermometer is a "clip on" type, adjust clip so that the bulb will not rest on the pot bottom, then remove from pot; place candy thermometer in a 2-quart pot about three-fourths full of cold water. Have ready a large, shallow pan into which your 4-quart pot will fit (mine measures 15" by 11" by 2"). Fill a glass with hot water; set near stovetop and have pastry brush ready.

In large bowl, combine sugar, sifted cocoa powder, and salt. With large whisk, mix gently until well-combined and evenly colored. Pour into prepared 4-quart pot, trying not to get too much on the pot sides. In heatproof medium bowl, place chopped chocolate. In small saucepan over low heat, heat heavy cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Pour about 2/3 of hot cream over chocolate. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir or whisk often until melted and smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining cream. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bottom and sides of bowl. Add melted chocolate mixture to sugar mixture in 4-quart pot. Add sour cream, water, and light corn syrup.

Place pot over low heat. Stir almost constantly with large spoon until sugar is completely dissolved; this will be a fairly thick mixture, and there will likely be a layer of foam on top from the cocoa--OK. When sugar is completely dissolved, increase heat to medium.

Dip pastry brush into hot water; squeeze out most of water. Starting at the top and working your way down, wash down the sides of the pot, working in small sections at a time and making sure you re-dip the brush into water and squeeze out any excess frequently. Stir the fudge occasionally until it comes to a boil, washing down the sides as above once or twice more before it does so.

When mixture boils, adjust heat so that a strong boil is maintained. You MUST stir this fudge frequently; I stir mine every 3 minutes. You will need to scrape the bottom AND the sides thoroughly when you stir, thus the broad-bladed, heat-resistant plastic spatula. Note that it's best to wear long sleeves or a long-sleeved pot holder mitt while stirring, as the boiling mixture can spatter. While fudge boils, place pot containing water and candy thermometer on low heat; if water boils, shut it off, but leave thermometer in the pot.

As fudge boils, it will reduce in volume and become thicker. After 30 minutes or so of boiling, remove candy thermometer from hot or boiling water, shake off quickly, and clip onto side of 4-quart pot (you can introduce the pre-warmed thermometer into the fudge as it begins to boil, but I find this frustrating, as the temperature increases so slowly). Keep stirring the fudge frequently; you may want to stir it a bit more often as it becomes thicker.

When fudge nears soft ball stage (234 degrees F to 236 degrees F), fill the large, shallow pan with about an inch of cold water. Add some ice cubes, if you like (I do), but the mixture should be mostly water, not mostly ice. You cannot cool fudge too quickly. As soon as fudge reaches end temperature (I use an end temperature of 235 degrees F, and this requires between 45 and 60 minutes of boiling), remove from heat and place into pan of cold water. Do not remove thermometer or get any water into the fudge! Add vanilla and cold butter bits, but do not stir.

While fudge cools, line an 8" square pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil or two lengths of regular aluminum foil. Smooth out as many creases in the foil as possible. Have ready a large, clean spoon. Butter the blade of a large, broad-bladed, plastic spatula; chill till needed. Have ready a small amount of butter to butter your hands if necessary; chill until needed.

The fudge should cool undisturbed. However, if you are careful, you can periodically remove some of the water in the large, shallow pan and replace it with fresh cold water and a few ice cubes. This will help to speed cooling a bit. Again, though, the mixture in the large, shallow pan should be mostly cold water. Check the thermometer periodically; the fudge must cool to 110 degrees F. This can take 30 to 50 minutes or longer.

When the thermometer shows a temperature of 110 degrees F, remove fudge pot from water and thermometer from fudge. The fudge will be incredibly thick--OK. Place the fudge pot on a folded kitchen towel on a table. Remove buttered spatula and small amount of butter from refrigerator, and set nearby. Now, with your clean, large spoon, slowly start to stir the fudge. It will be so thick and stiff that you will really only be able to fold it over on itself. Don't worry. It will take several minutes to incorporate the melted butter and vanilla. Keep stirring/folding, but pause frequently to allow the fudge to react. Because you were careful to scrape the sides frequently during cooking, you can incorporate some of the fudge on the sides of the pot while you stir, but only if it is low down on the sides (near the pot bottom). Do not incorporate fudge on the sides if it's more than 1/3 of the way up the pot sides. Periodically, scrape fudge off the spoon with the buttered spatula.

After 15-25 minutes of stirring/folding and frequent pausing, the fudge will stiffen further and begin to lose its gloss. with the buttered spatula, turn the fudge into the prepared pan, scraping out the pot bottom and any fudge on the sides near the bottom. If necessary, butter your hands and flatten the fudge with knuckles or fingertips to an even layer. Cool completely before cutting.

To cut, use a large, sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife. You will have to run the blade under hot water (and dry it) frequently to prevent the fudge from sticking. I cut this into 36 pieces, but it is very rich; feel free to cut smaller squares if you wish. Wrap each piece individually in a small square of plastic wrap, and store as above.


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Copyright © 1998 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.

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This page created December 1998