Hundred-year-old Chocolate Mint Fudge Recipe

Chocolate and mint combine beautifully to create delectable taste treats – think Girl Scout cookies, and mint chocolate chip ice cream – so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe in a vintage issue of Good Housekeeping for Chocolate Mint Fudge. This lovely fudge has just the right amount of chocolate and mint to create a delightful candy.

The Chocolate Mint Fudge recipe calls for Mint Syrup. Both the Fudge and Mint Syrup recipes were provided in the old magazine.

Here are the original recipes:

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)
Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

Here are the recipes updated for modern cooks:

Chocolate Mint Fudge

  • Servings: 25-30 pieces
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Chocolate Mint Fudge

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 1/2 cups milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

4 cups light brown sugar

1/2 cup mint syrup (see recipe below)

Put cocoa in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the milk and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Put butter, brown sugar, the remaining milk, and mint syrup in a mixing bowl stir to combine. Put in a saucepan and using medium heat bring to a boil. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Reduce and gently boil until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (238° F.). Put saucepan in cold water, and beat the fudge mixture until it thickens. Put into a 8 inch X 8 inch buttered pan. (If desired, line with parchment paper to make it easier to remove fudge). When cool, cut into pieces and remove from pan.

Mint Syrup

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup mint leaves

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; then add the mint leaves. Bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid begins to thicken to a syrup consistency (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat; strain and cool.

Cook’s note: This recipe makes more Mint Syrup than is needed for the Mint Chocolate Fudge. Extra syrup can be used in coffee or tea, or in other recipes.

Nutmeg Fudge Recipe

Nutmeg fudge picture

I love fudge, and when I saw a recipe for Nutmeg Fudge in a hundred-year-old magazine I just had to try to try it.

The verdict—The fudge was wonderfully smooth and creamy. I noticed unexpected nutmeg undertones when taking the first nibble, but then the warm, spicy hint of nutmeg balanced nicely with the sugar to create a fudge that was less sweet than many fudges.

Nutmeg Fudge

  • Servings: approximately 25 pieces
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

2 cups light-brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoonful nutmeg

Combine brown sugar, milk, cream, and melted chocolate in a heavy saucepan. Using medium heat, heat until the mixture just begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (235° F.). Remove from heat; then stir in butter, salt, and nutmeg.

Cool until lukewarm; then stir vigorously until the mixture becomes creamy and begins to thicken. Pour into a small buttered pan (6” X 6”). When firm cut into squares.

Adapted from recipe in Good Housekeeping (December, 1915)

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (December, 1915)
Source: Good Housekeeping (December, 1915)

Sour Cream Fudge

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, February 15, 1912:  I believe I have forgotten what I did today. Nothing unusual any way.Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much today, I’ll give you an old-time candy recipe for Sour Cream Fudge.

Sour Cream Fudge

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

1 1/4 cups butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine sugar and sour cream.  Stir while heating over a low temperature until the sugar is dissolved.  Add butter and continue stirring until it is melted. Quit stirring and bring to a slow boil. Continue boiling until candy reaches the soft ball stage (235-240 degrees F.). Remove from heat, beating it while it cools. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour into greased pan.

Sour Cream Fudge has a rich, buttery flavor.

Patience is key to successfully making Sour Cream Fudge. I was surprised how long I needed to cook this candy.  It takes a long time to reach the soft ball stage—I think that it took more than an hour.

Old Cocoa Fudge Recipe

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, November 10, 1911:Must begin to study harder if I ever want to graduate. Teacher gave out our reports and also gave quite a lecture about our marks also this afternoon. Ruthie expected a friend this evening and made chocolate fudge, but she didn’t come but the fudge however was not wasted.

Cocoa Fudge
Cocoa Fudge with Black Walnuts

 Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Rough day at school!–Good thing Grandma’s sister Ruth made fudge!  Chocolate is a wonderful comfort food.  🙂

I found an excellent central Pennsylvania fudge recipe that is more than 100 years old in the Lycoming Valley Cook Book by the Ladies of Trout Run M.E. Church (1907).*

Cocoa Fudge

One-fourth cup of milk, one and one-half tablespoonfuls butter, one and one-fourth cups powdered sugar, nine tablespoonsful cocoa, a pinch of salt, one-half teaspoonful vanilla. Put the butter and milk in a sauce-pan, and when the butter has melted, add the sugar, cocoa and salt. Stir until dissolved, then cook, stirring occasionally, until it strings, which will be about eight minutes. Remove from stove, set in a pan of cold water, add the vanilla, then beat gently. The instant it begins to thicken, pour into a buttered pan. When hard, cut in squares. Great care must be taken not to beat it much, because, if beaten too thick, it cannot be poured into the pan.

Grace Harbor, Trout Run, Pa.

I stirred black walnuts—see yesterday’s post— into some of the fudge before I put it in the pan. The resulting fudge was awesome and brought back memories of fudge I ate many years ago when I was a small child.

Black walnuts have a wonderfully intense flavor that co-mingled beautifully with the rich cocoa flavor in the fudge.

My Cook’s Notes About How I Interpreted the Recipe:

  • I assumed that “strings” meant ,when I lifted my stirring spoon above the pan and then tipped it so that the chocolate mixture could flow back into the pan, that a “string” of chocolate went from the spoon to the pan.  It did not take 8 minutes for the mixture to reach this stage—it probably was more like 5 minutes.
  • The mixture started to thicken only a few seconds after I set the sauce pan in cold water and began to stir.
  • After the fudge hardened, I had a little difficult getting it out of the pan, so I set the pan in hot water for a couple minutes. It when came right out and was easy to cut into squares.
  • I was surprised how little fudge this recipe made.  I put it in a small 5 inch by 5 inch casserole dish that I usually use for left-overs.  Families were larger a hundred years ago than they are now—so I would have thought that the recipe would make a large quantity rather than a tiny amount. Maybe cooks typically tripled or quadrupled the recipe.

Last spring I did another post on old fudge recipes—one even used molasses as in ingredient. Click her to see 1911 Chocolate Fudge Recipes.

* I got the recipe out of a 1992 reprint of the  1907 book.  Kwik-Kopy Printing, Williamsport PA published the reprint.

1911 Chocolate Fudge Recipes

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Wednesday, April 5, 1911: But now I have changed my opinion. I believe I will have a good time tomorrow. I assisted my sister in making chocolate fudge tonight.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I found two recipes for chocolate fudge in a 1911 cookbook:


Chocolate Fudge, No. 1—Three cups sugar; one cup cream or rich milk; one-half cake of chocolate and piece of butter the size of an egg. Boil slowly until grains form on the edge of the kettle. Add a tablespoon of vanilla and beat vigorously for a few minutes. Pour into a buttered pan and mark off in squares.

Chocolate Fudge, No. 2—Two cups brown sugar; one-half cup of butter; one-half cup of milk; one-fourth cup of molasses. Boil ten minutes. Then add two squares of chocolate and boil three minutes longer. Beat until thick, adding a teaspoon of vanilla.

The Butterick Cook Book: With Special Chapters About Casserole and Fireless Cooking (1911) by Helena Judson

I decided to make both recipes—and then have a taste-testing to see which was better. First I ‘translated’ the recipes into modern terms. For recipe No. 1, I guessed that a cake of chocolate was 1/2 pound of unsweetened chocolate and that the recipe therefore was calling for 1/4 pound of chocolate (4-one ounce squares).

I decided to use 1/4 cup of butter for ‘butter the size of an egg’. I used heavy whipping cream for the cream or rich milk.

And, I decided that ‘beating’ within the context of 1911 probably meant stirring rapidly with a spoon.

Before pouring each mixture into a buttered pan to cool, I divided the mixtures into half and added chopped walnuts to one half.

After the fudge hardened I conducted a taste test with readily available people (in other words, with my husband).

Both recipes made acceptable fudge—though Recipe No. 1 tasted more like the fudge we typically eat today. Recipe No. 2 had interesting complex undertones from the molasses—which seemed a bit strong in the plain fudge, but when we compared the fudges that contained the walnuts—the molasses really complemented the taste of the walnuts.

If any of you are hungry for some old-fashioned sweets, I’d encourage you to try these recipes.—And, let me know if you translated these recipes for modern cooking differently than I did, and whether you preferred recipe No. 1 or No. 2.