No fail fudge

No Fail Fudge: How to make your lab love you

I’ve been pretty sick for the past week and a half, so we’re going with a really easy post today. Aka I am going to share a recipe. More specifically, I am sharing the recipe for the fudge that inevitably earned an excited “Margaret made fudge!” when I brought it to lab functions. This fudge does not require a candy thermometer. There is no soft ball stage. The only way I have seen this fudge go wrong is the time my sister heated a modern Pyrex dish on the stovetop. Short of that we’re looking at no fail fudge!

No fail fudge

Science at work

No Fail Fudge


1/2 cup butter (my mother actually gave me the recipe as it being margerine. That’s how unscrewuppable this recipe is.)
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla


  1. Line an 8×8 pan with waxed paper. If you’ve searched four different stores and found only parchment paper, grease the pan well and hope. It’s worked out before!
  2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt. Enjoy the lack of a double boiler.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan
  4. Add milk and bring to a boil
  5. Add the sugar/cocoa/salt mixture and stir until smooth. Do not worry about soft ball stages.
  6. Remove from heat and add the vanilla
  7. Pour into pan and place in refrigerator for a few hours to set
  8. Serve to your labmates so that they all love you

If this were an actual recipe blog, I would have pretty pictures here. I will probably take some over Christmas when I actually make this. However, this is a science blog, so instead I’m going to point out that the key to this recipe is the icing sugar. Since the particles are already so small, you don’t have to fuss as much about the temperature to make sure all the sugar crystals get dissolved properly. This is the tastiest application of this particular chemical principle.

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