Kettle cooked fudge

No one knows with certainty who made the first batch of fudge. A purely American invention, most accounts agree it was the result of an accident that occurred while making another confection.

Perhaps the amount of sugar and cream were inverted by mistake or an ingredient was omitted while making toffee or caramel. Whatever the specific cause, the product was an entirely new type of candy made of sugar and cream.

When this glorious accident occurred is also unknown. Dictionaries from as early as 1811 denote the word fudge as meaning “nonsense,” and later define it as “to fabricate or contrive in a careless or blundering manner; bungle.” But there’s no mention of fudge in the comprehensive and authoritative professional confectionery cookbook published in 1849 by J.M. Sanderson.

The most substantial evidence of when fudge was invented can be found in the archives of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. A letter, written in 1921, reveals that fudge was first made and sold at a senior auction in 1892.

The mystery of how this confection came to be made may never be solved. But one thing is for sure: People of all ages, from all walks of life, are seduced by this happy accident—the candy we know and love as fudge.

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