behind-the-scenes

Customer Quotes

Here at the candy store we have a bowl for customers to leave comments about our fudge and once a month we draw a winner to receive a free box. Some of the comments are pretty good, so I thought I’d share a few of them. People are definitely passionate about fudge!

  • it’s fanfrickentastic!
  • fudgetastic!
  • It is good, different, tasty!
  • Andrew makes the world’s best fudge
  • The absolute best rocky road.
  • freaking good!
  • Wow!! don’t know what to say, maybe amazing!
  • The best anyone could offer :)
  • makes me drool brown…that’s good
  • Awesome (and dangerous)
  • The best I’ve ever had
  • scrumdiddleyum

If there was a contest for the best thing said about fudge, by  anyone, ever, this guy would easily win:

“It is as if God created heaven and decided that it was too good to keep for himself and created man just for the purpose of sharing heaven, but He chose to share it in the form of your fudge.”

Think you can top these customer quotes? Leave a comment with your own fudge-related thoughts (or existential musings on the divine nature of fudge).

16,000 Pounds and Counting

I did a little math recently to figure out how much fudge we’ve made over the years. Turns out we’ve made more than 16,000 pounds! That’s 8 tons, 256,000 ounces, or 7257.472 kilograms. All this measuring got me wondering how else I could think of that much fudge, so here are some interesting comparisons.

  • Despite having almost constant access to fudge, I weigh 130 pounds. 123 of me would weigh 16,000 pounds. The world’s heaviest man weighed 1,400 pounds, but it would still take 11 of him plus 4 of me to equal 16,000 pounds.
  • An equal amount of gold would be worth $445,158,400.
  • If one serving is 4 ounces, it’s enough to feed 64,000 people.
  • The average American eats approximately 2,000 pounds of food per year. If a person ate nothing but fudge instead, it would take 8 years to eat 16,000 pounds. (Assuming he lived that long, anyway).
  • Other things that weigh 16,000 pounds: 6 Honda Civics, 2 average-sized African elephants, 3,200 Chihuahuas, 8 Liberty Bells, or all the US Presidents combined, plus their wives.

How much space would 16,000 pounds of fudge fill? Funny you should ask, because I figured that out too. By my calculations, it would take up approximately 247 cubic feet. If all that fudge was poured as a single block, it would be a cube with sides about 6 feet 4 inches long. If we laid 16,000 of our 1 pound boxes of fudge in a row, they would stretch 9,333 feet.

We’ve made a lot of fudge, so you can trust us to get it right.

 

Crazy Gift Contest Winner

We’ve been running a Crazy Gift Contest and now it’s time to announce the winner! It was hard to choose which story was the best, but this is the one the SendFudge.com team picked:

“My husband’s birthday was coming up, and I was having a hard time finding ideas. So I asked my 4 year old daughter what she thought Daddy would like.

She thought about it for a minute, and then said, “Stuffed animals.”

Really?

“Well, he doesn’t have any!”

Touche, child. Touche.”

Congratulations to Mari, who will receive half a pound of her favorite fudge! Make sure to share it with your daughter, since she’s actually the real winner here.

Thanks to everyone who shared their best gift story. We enjoyed reading all of them–it was a tough contest to judge.

The Chemistry of Fudge by Andrew Horgan

In addition to being an expert fudge maker, I’m also a nerd. So this week I’m going to explain the chemistry behind fudge. I know you probably slept through high school science class, and some of you have already stopped reading, but I promise it’s not as boring as you think. Pay attention, there might be a pop quiz at the end.

Making a good batch of fudge is hugely dependent on getting all the variables just right. Even small mistakes can result in a disaster. (Ironically, fudge itself was originally a result of botching some other candy recipe). If the ingredients, technique, and temperature are all perfect, you’ll have smooth, creamy fudge. If not–well, let’s just say that instead of fudge you get something fudged up.

Fudge depends on supersaturation and crystallization. Remember learning about those in school? No? Well, keep reading. Controlling these two processes is the key to making traditional fudge. Supersaturation means dissolving more of a substance (in this case, sugar) in a liquid than would be possible under normal conditions. This is achieved by heating cream, which allows us to add more sugar, which in turn allows the cream to reach temperatures well above its normal boiling point. For fudge, the temperature needs to reach 234-240°. This is called the soft-ball stage. If the temperature is too low the fudge will be runny; too hot and it will be too hard. Humidity and altitude both affect the exact temperature required, so it takes some skill to know when the fudge is really done cooking.

Sugar doesn’t like being in a supersaturated solution. It really prefers being a solid and will try to become one at any opportunity. Controlling sugar’s natural desire to crystallize is very important for getting smooth fudge instead of a grainy texture. Even a single sugar crystal–called a  “seed”–can cause the rest to rapidly crystallize. Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid that. Many fudge recipes call for a little corn syrup, which is mostly glucose. These extra glucose molecules get between the sucrose molecules and prevent them from forming crystals. Think of glucose as the chaperones at a school dance, keeping the kids from gettingtoo close. Letting the fudge cool completely undisturbed until it reaches 110° is another important step. Then when it’s cool it needs to be stirred constantly. At that point we want it to crystallize, since that’s what makes it firm up, but the goal is to keep the crystals as small as possible. As the crystals form the fudge will go from being shiny to a bit duller, a signal that it’s ready to pour into a pan to set.

I’ll bet you didn’t know there was so much science behind a seemingly simple treat like fudge! And I didn’t think you’d read this far, so we’re both surprised. The next time you want to try a chemistry experiment, make a batch of fudge. And then eat it all, in the name of science.

Making our Old Fashioned Fudge

Customers visiting our store are often surprised to learn that we make our own fudge on site. If the timing is right,they sometimes get to see the process in action. Our fudge recipe is top secret, of course, but I can tell you that it all starts as either vanilla or chocolate. I guess there isn’t really anything particularly special about plain chocolate fudge; recipes for that are a dime a dozen.  But as Henry John Heinz (you know, the ketchup tycoon) once said, “To do a common thing, uncommonly well, brings success.” Not to brag, but I think our common chocolate and vanilla are done uncommonly well, and our customers seem to agree.

We use a specially designed kettle that cooks the fudge at the perfect temperature while stirring at the same time. You wouldn’t believe how awesome the fudge smells while it cooks–the aroma fills the whole store and seems to pull people inside. The real magic happens when I take the basic chocolate or vanilla and add flavorings, nuts, marshmallows, caramel, or whatever else the recipe calls for to create any of our thirty gourmet flavors. Anyone who sees this step invariably asks how I stay so skinny when I have a job like this; I’ll admit that it can be pretty tempting to lick the bowl clean when I’m done, but fortunately I have just enough willpower not to. I doubt the health department would approve of  that anyway.

It takes about an hour to make a twenty pound batch of fudge, plus several more hours to let it cool. When it’s ready we either display it in the store or carefully package it to be shipped out to lucky fudge lovers all over the country. I’ve had many customers tell me that they enjoy giving fudge as a unique gift and seeing it made right in front of them makes it even more special.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood we’d love to have you stop by to watch us make some great homemade fudge. We’ll even be more than happy to give you a sample!

New Fudge Flavor: Dark Chocolate Chili Mango

We make more than forty flavors of fudge, which some people might think is enough. But when it comes to fudge, more is always better. It’s fun to experiment with new recipes. This week I’ve been working on a fudge that you might not expect: chili mango. I know it sounds weird, but chili and chocolate is actually a good combination that’s pretty popular right now. Lots of companies are offering chocolate bars with a spicy kick, so it’s about time we jumped on the bandwagon and put our own twist on the idea.

I started this project in the grocery store spice aisle. After picking a few to try, it was back to the kitchen to make a batch of fudge. I made several samples with varying  recipe combinations of spices, but none of them quite worked. Jalapeno just wasn’t right; it didn’t go with the sweetness of the chocolate. Some of the samples included cinnamon, but it kind of overwhelmed the chili. I liked the chocolate and cinnamon together, though, so don’t be surprised if it shows up on the site in the future.  My colleague Andrey, in a moment of culinary inspiration, suggested switching to dark chocolate fudge and adding mango, which turned out to be the way to go. I also doubled the spice for good measure. I made a batch to sample here in the store to get customer feedback and after a few more tweaks finally had some fudge I’m happy with.

Dark chocolate chili mango fudge will be available soon—are you brave enough to try it?

 

©2009-2016 SendFudge.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED