How to Make the Best Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Fudge
FUDGE CANDY FROM SCRATCH
RECIPE FOR SOUR CREAM FUDGE WITH BLACK WALNUTS
- 2 C. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. white corn syrup
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3/4 C. sour cream, thinned with about 1/4 C. whole milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 C. walnuts, chopped
When is the fudge ready?
The Soft Ball Test
If you don't have a candy thermometer, test your fudge for doneness the old-fashioned way. Drop a bit of it into a cup of cold water. If you can form it into a soft ball with your fingers, it's ready to remove from the heat.
- Butter a small pan, 8x8 or smaller.
- Add milk to sour cream until it is the consistency of thick whipping cream. (When Mamaw Bess first started making this fudge, she used homemade sour cream. The recipe actually reads, "If using store-bought sour cream, thin with milk"!)
- Mix sugar, corn syrup, butter & thinned sour cream in a saucepan. If using a candy thermometer, clip it to the side of the pan.
- Stirring infrequently, cook the mixture over medium heat to 232-243 degrees, the soft ball stage. (This takes about 20 minutes.)
- Remove from stove and allow to cool.
- When the bottom of the pan is cool enough to touch, stir in vanilla.
- When the mixture is room temperature, beat it by hand until thickened. (This will only take a minute or two at most.)
- Add the nuts, and pour into buttered pan.
The Secret to Making Good Sour Cream Fudge
Sour cream fudge was one of my grandmother's specialties, an old fashioned, "from scratch," delicious bit of heaven that's not extremely quick or particularly easy to make.
The trick? A combination of neglect and timing. As the fudge cooks, don't stir it much. And as soon as it reaches the soft ball stage, remove it from the heat. If you manage those two things, your sour cream fudge will be melt-in-your-mouth, creamy good.
Neglect & Good Timing
If you want creamy sour cream fudge that isn't grainy, mix the ingredients together (without melting the butter first), set them on medium heat and let them cook without bothering them too much. In fact, stirring the mixture only 4 or 5 times is enough. As soon as it hits the soft ball stage, about 240 degrees F, remove it from the heat.
Of course, becoming a good fudge candy maker takes practice. Like eating candy, however, making it should be a treat—at least according to Mamaw Bess, who would advise you to invite over a friend or two, brew a big pot of coffee and make a day of it.
And if your candy doesn't turn out just right the first time? Laugh a little, make another pot of coffee and try again.
As Mamaw Bess would say, "Relax, kid! Have some fun."
Sour Cream Fudge: A Sweet Tradition
When my grandmother Bess was in her eighties, she and her two best friends, Gin and Bea, would head out at least once a month, loaded down with talcum powder, fresh fruit and the latest gossip, to "visit the old people."
It was an all-day event.
At the time, Mamaw Bess and her friends seemed ancient to me. How old, I wondered, could these "old people" be?
Later, of course, I realized that the elderly persons in question were shut-ins, senior citizens who, due to illness or infirmity, rarely if ever left their homes. Some rarely left their beds. But thanks to Mamaw Bess and her friends, they were never quite out of the town's social loop.
Never quite forgotten.
Homemade Candy Recipes
During the holidays, the three friends would take tins of homemade candy along on their visits: buckeyes (a.k.a. peanut butter balls), creamy peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge with pecans and Mamaw Bess's specialty, sour cream fudge with black walnuts.
Sweet and tangy, sour cream fudge is delicious. And, like all fudge candy, it's rich. Mamaw Bess always cut her sour cream fudge into dainty little squares, each the perfect size for a single, delicious taste of tangy sweetness that melted on the tongue, leaving rich black walnuts behind for chewing.
© 2012 Jill Spencer