When you’re planning your Christmas cookie trays, consider this Christmas fudge! It has a simple almond flavor, and is perfect for the holiday season!
There is no better classic fudge recipe than this Christmas Fudge! Basically an almond fudge topped with festive sprinkles, it’s perfect for cookies trays!
When you think of Christmas, what flavors come to mind? For me, it is the spicy scents of pumpkin spice like nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, but also almond.
So while I’ve made plenty of vanilla fudge, I wanted to make a smooth almond fudge too and top it off with festive sprinkles.
Let me first say that making a classic or traditional fudge is hard. It seems so simple, but there is actually a lot of chemistry, patience and knowledge involved.
But I don’t want you to be intimidated. With the right background, tools and instructions, anyone can make delicious fudge.
There are a lot of fudge recipes out there. And many take shortcuts.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually make several of the easy fudge recipes myself and they are very good, but I feel like to get a good grasp on how to make any food, you also need to know how it was made the old fashioned way.
Some use marshmallow creme, like my friend over at Shugary Sweets, and others use sweetened condensed (or evaporated) milk, like my Gingerbread Fudge and some that use whole milk, sugar and butter like my Peanut Butter Fudge.
But I like to know how to make stuff from scratch and find that understanding the chemistry behind it can be enlightening.
PRO TIP: Use a set pastry brush to wipe down the sides of pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
For this Christmas fudge recipe, which is really almond fudge, you need to start with the mechanics. It is basically melted sugar, but the sugar needs something to dissolve into, you use light corn syrup, also a variation of sugar, and cream.
PRO TIP: Use a wooden spoon, sticky and thick concoctions like this are easy to stir and stick less to wood than metal or plastic.
The sugar melts and comes to the soft ball stage of candy making.
PRO TIP: Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan when pouring out the mixture, if anything scalded just let it stay there.
|Thread (syrup)||230 to 234 °F||80%|
|Soft Ball (fudge)||234 to 241 °F||85%|
|Firm Ball (caramel candy)||244 to 248 °F||87%|
|Hard Ball (nougat)||250 to 266 °F||90%|
|Soft Crack (salt water taffy)||270 to 289 °F||95%|
|Hard Crack (toffee)||295 to 309 °F||99%|
PRO TIP: Use a glass or metal mixing bowl and don’t touch it! I tell you to put it on a cooling rack before pouring in the mixture because after you do, the bowl is SUPER HOT. Don’t touch! Avoid using plastic, which can melt.
Slowly, the sugar dissolves and starts to lose the grainy texture and become smooth. While this all sounds simple, it is actually quite challenging.
PRO TIP: Do not stir the fudge while coming to temperature.
For the best results, don’t rely on timing or your eyes, get a candy thermometer. Don’t stir during this time, it can separate and ruin the batch.
Next, you’ll want to let it cool to room temperature before pouring into a pan. It’s HOT, so be careful!
PRO TIP: Placing the bowl to cool on a cooling rack allows air to circulate around the whole bowl, helping the process happen faster and more even.
Keep in mind that vanilla fudge doesn’t actually need to have white chocolate in it. Fudge requiring chocolate is a misnomer. While many fudges do have chocolate, this isn’t required.
The definition of fudge is Fudge is a type of sugar candy that is made by mixing sugar, butter and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F, and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. In texture, this crystalline candy falls in between fondants and hard caramels. (Wikipedia).
Finally, you’ll spread your fudge into a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or greased with butter and chill for it to harden. You can choose the pan by how thick you like your fudge.
PRO TIP: Use a stick of cold butter and wipe it on the parchment paper while flat, then place it into the 8×8 pan.
If you liked this Christmas fudge recipe, check out these other fun Christmas recipes:
- Christmas Dunkaroo Dip
- Christmas Puppy Chow
- Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
- Rice Krispies Treat Christmas Cut Outs
- Christmas Coal Candy
Questions you might have about how to make vanilla fudge:
Why isn’t my fudge white? Traditionally made fudge won’t be white for a simple reason, you’ve toasted the sugar and vanilla extract is brown.
There are recipes that use marshmallow fluff or sweetened condensed milk that will give you fluffy white fudge.
Can I use clear vanilla? You can use clear vanilla or even vanilla flavoring, just keep in mind neither of these are real vanilla extract.
Do I have to use a candy thermometer? Scroll up and read my several paragraphs on why a candy thermometer is imperative. The answer is yes, always yes.
Can I use heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream? Despite being used interchangeably quite often, there is a difference.
Heavy cream has a 36% milk fat while and whipping cream is only 30%. Heavy cream is better for stabilized homemade whipped cream and thickening sauces because it has a higher milk fat and thicker texture, but only slightly.
Do I have to use vanilla? Nope! Use whatever flavors you’d like. Some people like using a licorice flavor and others like to play games with your tastebuds and use an unexpected flavor like raspberry, almond or even peppermint.
How do you store fudge? I like to store mine in the fridge in an airtight container. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes or so before serving to come to temperature.
Can fudge sit out? Yes, you can let fudge sit out, it is cooked. Some folks don’t refrigerate it at all.
How long does fudge last? I would say 2-3 days before it starts to dry out.
Why does my fudge sweat? Fudge has some water in it and if it goes through extreme temperature changes, it will produce sweat.
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Christmas Fudge (Almond Fudge)
- Using a cold stick of butter, grease a large piece of parchment paper and then line an 8×8 square baking pan. Set aside.
- Place the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a large glass or metal mixing bowl. Set that mixing bowl on a cooling rack. The mixture will be super hot and you won’t want to touch the moping bowl after you transfer the mixture. The cooling rack allows air to circulate all the way around the bowl, cooling faster.
- Add heavy cream, sugar, light corn syrup, white chocolate and salt into a medium heavy saucepan.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved, approximately 10 minutes.
- Increase to medium heat, bringing to a low boil. Do not stir or mix any longer. Attach candy thermometer and continue to cook without stirring. Allow candy thermometer to come to 240 degrees (soft ball stagand continue to cook for 1 minute. This can take 10-15 minutes, so be patient.
- Carefully pour mixture into mixing bowl with butter. Do not scrape the bottom of the pan in case any of the sugar scaled to the bottom.
- Whisk butter and almond extract into the mixture. It will be bubbly and hot. Be careful!
- Allow to cool at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before mixing well and then transferring to the prepared and lined square dish.
- Use a small offset spatula to quickly spread fudge to sides of pan and smooth top. Allow to further cool before covering and chilling in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. If you want to add embellishments or sprinkles, do it now while fudge is still tacky.
- Lift parchment out of the square dish and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!