South African Fudge Recipe — The 350 Degree Oven (2024)

Homemade South African Fudge

My husband isn’t much of a ‘foodie’. He doesn’t get all crazy about food the way I do… unless… it’s something sweet. He LOVES desserts. One day, several years ago, he was reminiscing about the amazing fudge that he used to buy while in primary school in Capetown, South Africa; “It’s creamy, not chocolaty, and it melts in your mouth“. Hmm. Sounds awesome. But how was I to make it when I’ve never tried it before?!?! (Luckily, his sister gave me her recipe!)

Now, I’ve always heard that making fudge was really hard to do. In fact, the only type of fudge I ever make successfully is the “cheater”chocolate fudgethat uses sweetened condensed milk and the microwave. (There was this one time I tried to make pumpkin fudge – and it was a disaster! I didn’t end up with fudge, but instead made a crumbly mess. It was ok in the end, since I used the failed fudge as an awesome filling for pumpkin cinnamon rolls!) Thankfully, this recipe has never given me any problems – even with substitutions. Half the time, I don’t even bother with the candy thermometer!

One of the ingredients in South African fudge is Golden Syrup. For the first couple of years I made this recipe, I didn’t really know what “golden syrup” was. I had never heard of it, and I had never seen it. I figured it was some sort of sugary syrup, and brownish or ‘golden’ in color. (Haha wasn’t that sooo smart of me???) That’s it. So in its place, I have used: honey, dark corn syrup, maple syrup… you name it. The recipe has always been fine, no matter what kind of syrup I used. Last year though, I discovered a German supermarket in town – and they carried all sorts of European grocery items. When browsing through the different flavors of Austrian jam… I saw a can on the next shelf that said “Golden Syrup”… and I bought it. Since then, I’ve used Golden Syrup in the recipe instead of whatever random syrup I had on hand, and I’ll admit… I think it’s a little better with it… but it’s not 100% essential. So use what you have, unless you have a supply of Golden Syrup.

South African Fudge:

Golden Syrup can be found in European or British Grocery Stores

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 T. water
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 T. Golden Syrup (or dark corn syrup)
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a heavy pot (I used a pan that was too small in these photos – try something a little bit bigger, like a dutch oven), dissolve the sugar into the water over medium-low heat.

2. Add the butter and golden syrup, and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted.

3. Add the salt and the sweetened condensed milk, and bring to a boil.

4. Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat (it should be simmering, or boiling very gently) while stirring with a wooden spoon. You will need to cook this mixture on medium-low for about 20 minutes to reach the “soft ball” stage. (Don’t worry – this is not as hard to do as it seems. Basically just cook the mixture for 20 minutes, stirring, and you will pretty much be there at the 20 minute mark. I have made this recipe a bunch of times without the candy thermometer and it turns out just fine.)

5. When the mixture becomes thick and reaches the “soft ball” stage (235-240 degrees F), turn off the heat. (You can use a candy thermometer to judge when you are at the soft ball stage, or you can also drop a small amount of the mixture into a cup of cold water. If the mixture firms up so that you can form a soft ball of candy between your fingers, then you are done. If you are using a candy thermometer, I would stop cooking somewhere around 237 or 238 degrees… if you go all the way to 240, you might end up overcooking.) Another way to tell if your mixture is cooked to the right stage, is to look for the mixture to “sheet” off the back of your wooden spoon. If you dip the spoon into the mixture and pull it out above the pot, look for the syrup to slowly drip off the back of the spoon – it may start off as individual drips, but they will coalesce into a single sheet of syrup coming off the spoon.

6. Remove the pot from the heat, and add the vanilla extract (stirring as you go). THIS STEP IS THE MOST IMPORTANT! Keep stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon – actually, you want to stir vigorously or beat the mixture – for about 3-5 minutes until it becomes thickened. You will notice the mixture beginning to crystallize and form a paste on the sides and corners of the pot – the syrup will start looking a little chalky. At this point you can stop.

7. Pour the fudge mixture into a non-stick foil (or greased foil) lined 8″ or 9″ square pan, or a 7″ X 11″ rectangle pan. (The pan size doesn’t have to be exact – basically, the bigger the pan, the thinner the fudge. The smaller the pan, the thicker the fudge pieces will be.)

8. Allow the fudge to rest on the counter for 2-3 hours until firm. Remove to a cutting board (use the foil as a sling to remove it from the pan), and cut into squares. Store in an airtight plastic container.

South African Fudge Recipe — The 350 Degree Oven (2024)


What temperature should fudge be set at? ›

The fudge is ready when a candy thermometer reads between 112°C to 114°C (234°F to 237°F) or the mixture forms a soft ball in cold water.

How does temperature affect fudge? ›

Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F). The cooking is intended to evaporate a part of the liquid and concentrate the sugar. The temperature of the cream/sugar mixture (called syrup) rises as water evaporates.

Why is my 3 ingredient fudge not setting? ›

The main reason is that your Fudge has not reached the optimum temperature. If your mixture only reaches 110 or 112 degrees Celsius it will always be soft. That's why we recommend investing in a sugar thermometer. Another reason your Fudge is not setting is that the ratio of liquid to sugar is too high.

How long does it take for fudge to fully set? ›

Proper fudge will set after sitting at room temperature for about 4 hours. Understand that cooking the fudge properly is the skirmish before the war. The real test of your mettle will occur when you beat the fudge, and learn to master the fine art of turning and pouring.

What is the secret to smooth fudge that is not gritty? ›

Once a seed crystal forms, it grows bigger and bigger as the fudge cools. A lot of big crystals in fudge makes it grainy. By letting the fudge cool without stirring, you avoid creating seed crystals.

What not to do when making fudge? ›

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid for Candy Shop-Worthy Fudge and Caramels
  1. Using the Wrong Pan. All candy and confections start by melting sugar. ...
  2. Stirring the Sugar. ...
  3. Not Using a Candy Thermometer. ...
  4. Leaving Out the Parchment Paper Lining. ...
  5. Skipping the Cooking Spray. ...
  6. Scraping the Pot. ...
  7. Using a Cold Knife to Slice.
Dec 16, 2015

Can you overheat fudge? ›

It could be that your fudge is overcooked and this causes the sugar to harden. A sugar thermometer will help you to check it reaches the correct temperature which is the soft ball stage at 112 to 116 °C (234 to 241 °F). If it exceeds this, it is heading for a much chewier consistency.

What happens if you overheat fudge? ›

Overcooked fudge, which goes beyond 239 F, evaporates the water, which isn't what you want. It also matters how you treat the fudge after it's cooked. Avoid too much stirring while you are heating the fudge since this agitates the sugar and causes it to clump into sugar crystals again.

Should you stir fudge while it's cooking? ›

Don't stir!

Once the fudge reaches soft-ball stage on the candy thermometer, remove from the heat and let the temperature drop to 110°F. Keep that spoon or spatula out of the pot until this happens. If you stir too early in the process, you'll make the sugar crystals too big and end up with grainy fudge.

How long should I beat fudge for? ›

Allow the fudge mixture to rest until the temperature registers between 150°-160°. Once the desired temperature is reached, beat the ever-loving stuffing out of the fudge. Two to three minutes of hardcore mixing (by hand). This is where you earn the right to eat half of the batch.

Can I fix fudge that didn't set? ›

OPTION 3) Sieve together some powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and gradually work this into your unset fudge until it reaches the consistency of dough, then roll out and cut into squares, or shape into balls and then roll in powdered sugar (roll the balls in icing sugar, not yourself).

Why is my old fashioned fudge not hardening? ›

Fudge Didn't Set

If your fudge turned out super sticky, or it didn't set as it cooled, it probably never got hot enough. This mistake is super easy to avoid if you use a candy thermometer and cook the fudge to the temperature specified in the recipe (usually between 234 and 239°F).

Why does fudge fail? ›

Homemade Fudge Doesn't Always Set

If your fudge doesn't firm up after a few hours, you either have too high an amount of liquid to sugar, or your mixture hasn't reached the soft-ball stage. Using a candy thermometer can help home cooks avoid this problem.

Why did my fudge turn out like caramel? ›

Fudge can turn into caramel due to overcooking or undercooking, incorrect temperatures, or wrong ingredients.

How do you know when fudge is ready to set? ›

You know it's ready when a small amount of the mixture dropped into a glass of cold water sets into a soft ball that you can lift out with a teaspoon and pinch between your fingers. Turn off the heat and keep stirring for 5 minutes or until the mix starts to thicken a little.

Should I put fudge in the fridge to set? ›

NEVER REFRIGERATE your fudge as this will draw out the moisture and leave you with dry, crumbly fudge.

Do you set fudge in the fridge or room temp? ›

Refrigerators are not good for fudge. Refrigerated fudge will recrystalize into sugar fairly rapidly, losing most of the creaminess. Fudge can be stored for about two weeks at room temperature, preferably in an airtight container.

How long does it take fudge to reach 234 degrees? ›

Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 234 degrees, about 20 to 25 minutes. The mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over the entire surface. While the fudge is cooking, prepare the baking pan.

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