A history of butter fudge
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A history of butter fudge

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Ahhh, fudge!

It’s probably true that fudge became ‘one of the best mistakes in the history of confectionary’ after someone ‘fudged up’ a batch of caramels in 1886 and inadvertently invented the irresistible treat we now call fudge.

What is butter fudge

Butter is an essential ingredient of fudge, hence the term butter fudge, a kind of confection made by boiling sugar, butter and milk together so the sugar is partially caramelised, then beating the mixture as it cools to prevent large crystals from forming so as to obtain a soft consistency. The mixture is then poured into a baking tray and allowed to cool further before being cut or broken into bite-sized squares.

Fudge in the USA is typically made with the addition of chocolate, and across the globe there are new and exciting variations that make fudge the versatile delight enjoyed by all. Salted caramel fudge, anyone?

History of butter fudge

Fudge almost certainly has its origins in 19th century USA where it was popular in the women’s colleges of the time. The generally-accepted line is that it all began with a certain Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in New York. She had used a receipt from a classmate’s cousin whose failed attempts to make caramel earned it the name ‘fudge’.

Cottage Delight’s All Butter Fudge

Our very own history at Cottage Delight began with our founding in 1974 from our origins in a home kitchen, when we originally created our now famous and much-loved handmade butter fudge. The original recipe has remained unchanged to this day.

Over the subsequent years our Cottage Delight range grew to include jams, marmalades, curds, chutneys, table sauces and many more delectable delights. Four delicious decades later, we are still residing at our home in the heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands and continue to create our All Butter Fudge today using that same original recipe.

Our fabulous melt in the mouth Original Fudge is soft and crumbly with a rich and luxurious texture. Each piece of our artisan fudge has been hand whisked and hand cut at our home in the Staffordshire Moorlands and is available in three varieties including our scrumptiously delicious Creamy Vanilla Butter Fudge.

How to make butter fudge

Prefer to whip up a batch of your own fudge? We keep our recipe top secret but the below should be enough to satisfy any fudge cravings.


1 of can condensed milk

500g sugar

120ml water

4tbsp butter

2tsp vanilla essence


  1. Combine sugar, water, butter, and condensed milk in a tall saucepan (be cautious, as the mixture tends to bubble rapidly) and gradually heat it to a gentle boil on low heat.
  1. While the mixture is boiling, stir continuously with a wooden spoon. It should take about half an hour of stirring for the sugar to dissolve and doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
  1. If you have a sugar thermometer, aim for the mixture to reach a temperature between 113-115°C. If you don’t have one, you can perform a test by dropping a small amount of the mixture into a bowl of ice-cold water. If it forms a pliable, round ball that doesn’t adhere to your fingers, it should be at the right consistency.
  1. After reaching the desired temperature, take the fudge off the heat and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, vigorously beat the fudge until it loses its glossy appearance and becomes exceptionally thick. This process typically takes around 5-10 minutes. Remember, the longer you continue beating after it starts to thicken, the crumblier the resulting fudge will be. If you prefer a smoother texture, only beat it until it easily detaches from the sides of the pan and adheres well to the spoon.
  1. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tray, press with the back of a spoon and allow to cool. This may take up to 6 hours.
  1. Cut into squares once cooled properly. The result should be solid but crumbly around the edges when you cut it, rather than soft and chewy. It should also have a grainy texture.

Fudge Fabulous Fudge

All this talk got you fancying some fudge? Check out our range of delicious all butter fudge and find recipes like Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake and more.

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