In 1886, fudge was sold at a local Baltimore grocery store for 40 cents a pound. This is the first known sale of fudge. A letter, found in the archives of Vasser College, written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge reveals that Emelyn wrote that her schoolmate's cousin made fudge in 1886 in Baltimore and sold it for 40 cents a pound. More chef recipes are available in just a push of a button.
In 1888, Miss Hartridge asked for the fudge recipe, and made 30 pounds of fudge for the Vassar Senior Auction. The recipe was very popular at the school from that point forward. Fudge became a new confection after word spread to other women's colleges of the tasty delight. Later, Smith and Wellesley schools each developed their own recipe for fudge.
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
18 ounces chocolate (buy the best chocolate you can find — this should be a pure chocolate see note below)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment or foil and set aside.
2. Heat sweetened condensed milk, butter and salt on medium low in a 2-quart sauce pan.
3. In a separate container, pre-melt the chocolate in the microwave until it is totally melted and stirred – no lumps. Be careful to not overheat the chocolate in the microwave -- use 30-second intervals and stir at every break. When the sweetened condensed milk is warm and has loosened up, pour all of the chocolate into the sauce pan with the milk. Stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be thick as the chocolate incorporates and then it will get glossy. When your mixture turns glossy, add vanilla and stir quickly. Remove from heat and pour IMMEDIATELY into the prepared pan. Cool for several hours in the refrigerator before cutting into small squares. Fudge is best kept in an airtight container and eaten within 4-5 days.
4. This recipe can be doubled and put in a 9- by 13-inch pan.
5. A note about chocolate: Buy a high-quality chocolate at a retailer like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Chocolate chips or the chocolate sold for dipping fruit are not good choices as they have stabilizers in them which makes for a stiffer fudge.