An easy recipe made without a candy thermometer!
After helping with last week’s incredibly successful (and addictive!) eggnog fudge, my dessert-avoiding guy practically begged to make more. He started dreaming up flavors faster than I could scribble them down—fruity, minty, caramel, candy bar—and even suggested a few cute and clever ingredients. The following morning while drinking my coffee, I proposed a mocha fudge.
Although he previously worked as a Starbucks barista, my guy barely tolerates coffee. Something in the beans disagrees with his sensitive stomach, so he sticks to juice and soda instead. But on days where caffeine desperation sets in, he orders a Grande 2-Pump Nonfat Mocha—and the man doesn’t even like chocolate! Go figure…
Once I promised to try a batch of raspberry or caramel fudge next, my mocha suggestion went over fairly well. I assembled the ingredients, turned on the burner, and called out to the family room, “Are you ready?”
“Well, you just need me to stir, right?” he replied from his perch on the sofa without peeling his eyes away from his video game.
After his stressful day at work, I knew better than to pull him away from the controller, so I melted and stirred and boiled the mixture, eventually alerting him at the 6-minute cooling mark.
Before beginning this easy mocha fudge recipe, it’s really important that you set up your entire workstation! Other than the 6 minutes of cooling, the process moves along very quickly. Line a pan with foil, pour a frosty glass of cold water, and place both next to the stove. Gather a spoon, spatula, and large pot, and after you measure the ingredients, you’re ready to go!
Because I ran out of coffee filters earlier that day, I used instant coffee crystals. After a few rounds of testing, we determined that 2 tablespoons provided the perfect balance of coffee and chocolate flavors. With only 1 tablespoon, the chocolate flavor dominated (not a horrible thing, in my chocoholic opinion!), whereas 3 tablespoons tasted very strongly of coffee. Feel free to tweak the amount to fit your palate!
Before adding the remaining ingredients, all of the coffee crystals must be completely dissolved in the hot water. If even the tiniest speck remains, it could create a coarse grainy texture in the fudge instead of the smooth, creamy consistency we want.
You can easily brew your own coffee from regular grounds instead! Because you’ll dilute it with milk, sugar, and chocolate, make sure it’s extra strong for a good mocha fudge flavor.
Although a candy thermometer helps, it isn’t necessary for this recipe! If you follow my 4 Tips for Perfect Fudge, you’ll end up with rich velvety squares every time.
1. Use a BIG pot. It doesn’t have to be a Dutch oven, but it should hold at least 8 cups of liquid. The bigger the pot, the faster the process, and the less you worry about the sugar mixture spilling over the sides!
2. Test the temperature. And do it often! Starting after 10 minutes of boiling (and every 2 minutes after that), dip a spoon into the sugar solution and drop a little bit into cold water. When you can squish the chocolate between your fingers without it falling apart, pull the pot off of the heat.
3. Don’t disturb the cooling process. No bumping, nudging, stirring, shaking, or otherwise agitating the pot! As the chocolate mixture cools, the melted sugar begins to reform small solid crystals. If you interrupt this slow process, the crystals quickly deform into large misshapen masses, which results in coarse grainy fudge. It’s like your childhood Lego set: they barely squeezed into their box when randomly tossed in, but they fit in nicely when you stacked and pressed them together! Small blocks pressed together = smooth, creamy fudge.
4. Be patient. The amount of time varies with your stove, pot, and heat source. Sometimes the weather influences the process too—one day it took me 8 minutes of stirring, another day required 18! But I promise every single slice will be worth it.
Rich chocolate and earthy coffee flavors fill each creamy square of this Skinny Mocha Fudge. The petit pieces exude the scent of freshly roasted beans at a cozy coffee shop and simply melt on your tongue, captivating your taste buds with their luscious taste. With barely any butter, this healthier fudge is practically guilt-free—but its decadent taste wouldn’t reveal that!
After he finished stirring and spread the fudge into the pan, I handed my guy the knife. He sliced the sweets into squares, and I made him hold up the pan so I could snap a picture—just like a proud momma would do—to commemorate his first batch of fudge. (Aww!)
We sampled our candy, and even my guy, the chocolate-hater, still snuck a few extra pieces after I fell asleep. Success! Watch out, the two of us might turn our house into a fudge-making factory!
This creamy fudge is absolutely addictive! Adjust the amount of coffee to fit your tastes (see Note below). Store the squares in an airtight container for up to a week, if they last that long! (They’ll stay good past that time, although they may stale a tiny bit.)
- Line an 8”-square baking pan with foil, and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot, combine the hot water and instant coffee crystals. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the coffee crystals dissolve. Add the milk, sugar, butter, and dark chocolate, and continue stirring over medium-low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted. Bring to a boil, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until a small amount becomes moldable when dropped in a glass of cold water. (It may take longer, depending on your pot and stove. If using a candy thermometer, cook until it reaches 234°F.)
- Remove from the heat and the burner, and allow the hot mixture to sit undisturbed for 6 minutes (or until it reaches 110°F on a candy thermometer). After 6 minutes, stir vigorously until the mixture becomes thick and creamy and lightens slightly in color. Spread into the prepared pan, and allow the fudge to cool to room temperature before slicing into 1” squares.
Note: For a stronger coffee flavor, increase the instant coffee crystals to 3 tablespoons. For a stronger chocolate flavor, decrease to 1 tablespoon. You may also substitute ½ cup of strong coffee instead of the hot water and instant coffee crystals.
Maria Elena says...
Can I substitute the coffee with something else? Thanks
Skip the water + instant coffee and simply use 1 full cup of milk instead. I hope you enjoy the fudge Maria!
Can I skip the chocolate chips? Also, can I use coffee powder instead of the crystals and what would be the right measure?
I appreciate your interest in my recipe Maria! You can use either chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips, but you need one or the other. The fudge will not turn out without the chocolate. I’m unfamiliar with coffee powder; are you referring to regular coffee grounds? If so, see the Note underneath the Instructions for using regular brewed coffee. 🙂 I’d love to hear what you think of the fudge if you try it!
Thank you for this recipe! I just made it today and it looks and smells great (haven’t tasted it yet, but I’m sure it will be delicious… what’s not to like?).
Mine cracked a bit when I cut them. Do you have an idea why that is? Also, do you know if they can be frozen to keep longer? Thank you so much!
It’s my pleasure, Hannah! 🙂 I haven’t tried freezing this fudge, so I honestly don’t know. If the fudge cracked a bit, it could be that the mixture was cooked just a tad bit too long. As long as the flavor and texture is fine, the appearance doesn’t matter — at least, in my chocoholic world! 😉