Your holiday treat making won’t be complete without this Gingerbread Fudge! It’s perfectly spicy and sweet, and great for gifting!
When you think of the holidays, what smells do you associate it with? The sweet scent of pine? Sugar cookies or baking? Or perhaps aromatic spices, both sweet and savory?
This robust spice blend is most popular in gingerbread cookie, gingerbread cake and gingerbread men, but really the flavors can be incorporated into anything. Like homemade fudge!
I adapted my classic vanilla fudge recipe to also use rich molasses and dark corn syrup. Along with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice, this makes the tastiest of gingerbread goodies.
Perfect for filling cookie trays and bringing to holiday potlucks, you are going to devour this easy gingerbread fudge and people will beg for the recipe.
PRO TIP: Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan when pouring out the mixture, if anything scalded just let it stay there.
Types of Fudge Making
So how do you make fudge? 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.
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.
But I don’t want that to hold you back from trying your hand at making fudge from scratch! With the right know-how, tools and instructions, anyone can do it.
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.
Traditional Fudge Making
Fudge is basically melted sugar, but the sugar needs something to dissolve into, you use light corn syrup, also a variation of sugar, and cream. The sugar melts and comes to the soft ball stage of candy making.
|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%|
Slowly, the sugar dissolves and starts to lose the grainy texture and become smooth. While this all sounds simple, it is actually quite challenging.
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.
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.
Next, you’ll want to remove from heat to stir in the spices, vanilla and butter. Let it cool before pouring into a pan. It’s HOT, so be careful!
Do I have to use vanilla extract? 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.
Keep in mind that traditional fudge doesn’t actually have chocolate in it. You could use white chocolate chips, milk or dark chocolate, or even semi sweet chocolate chips or peanut butter chips, but it isn’t required and I don’t use it in my Gingerbread Fudge.
Finally, you’ll spread your gingerbread 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. The smaller the pan, the thicker the fudge and vice versa.
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.
There you, fudge made easy! Here are even more fudge recipes, made quick and easy and also old fashioned.
Heavy Cream vs Heavy Whipping Cream
Can I use heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream for this gingerbread fudge? 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.
Storage & Freezing
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.
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
- 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, dark corn syrup, molasses 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 stage) and continue to cook for 1 minute. This can take 10-15 minutes, so be patient.
- Meanwhile, mix together ground ginger, ground cinnamon, allspice, ground cloves and nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside.
- 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, pure vanilla extract and spice mix 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 ass 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!