This recipe for cream cheese fudge takes a different approach to the traditional, labor-intensive fudge. It may be a simplified version, but it tastes just as decadent and delightful.
The combination of salty and tart cream cheese and decadent chocolate is a definite winner.
It results in a smooth, creamy, and chewy fudge that’s not too cloyingly sweet. Unlike other fudge squares, these won’t destroy your teeth!
The best part is that it’s ridiculously easy to make. You won’t need to make candy from scratch, so don’t worry about getting a candy thermometer or figuring out what “soft-ball stage” means.
With this recipe, you’ll make wonderfully sweet and chewy fudge that’s impossible to fudge up! Let’s get to it.
Cream Cheese Fudge
Cream cheese fudge is a super simple, 5-ingredient recipe that even kitchen newbies will nail effortlessly.
It’s a snap to make, but it also delivers on flavor and texture.
Chocolate and cream cheese create a delicious marriage of flavors. It’s enhanced further by vanilla, resulting in a sweet, tart, and salty combination that will surely tickle your tastebuds.
The chocolate and cream cheese also guarantee a smooth, creamy, and silky consistency. The powdered sugar ensures zero graininess, while the walnuts add a crunchy textural variety.
So despite it being simple, each ingredient works together beautifully to produce perfection in every bite.
- Cream Cheese, Softened – For a thick, creamy consistency and a tart, salt, cheesy flavor that complements chocolate wonderfully well.
- Powdered Sugar – The beauty of this recipe is that there’s no need to worry about making candy from sugar. Using powdered sugar will ensure that your fudge is nice and smooth even without cooking it. Be sure to sift the sugar beforehand to rid of lumps.
- Unsweetened Chocolate – Of course, you can totally use dark or semi-sweet chocolate, if you like a sweeter fudge. Just keep in mind that there’s already a lot of powdered sugar in the recipe.
- Chopped Walnuts – Toast them in a pan for several minutes for a deeper, bolder flavor.
- Vanilla – The ultimate flavor enhancer.
How to Make Fudge with Cream Cheese
Unlike traditional fudge that’s a tad finicky, this shortcut version is a lot easier. There’s no need for candy thermometers or watching out for sugars crystallizing on the sides of the pot for this recipe!
Start by preparing your baking dish. Grease an 8-inch square pan heavily with cooking spray. This will make it a breeze to pry the fudge out of the pan.
Alternatively, you can line it with parchment paper. Leave an overhang on the sides for easier lifting.
Next, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Be sure to use softened cream cheese, otherwise, the mixture will be lumpy.
If you forget to take it out of the fridge in time, you can microwave it for 10 seconds on low power.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until well-combined. Be sure to sift the powdered sugar first to ensure a smooth mixture.
Set the mixture aside and melt the chocolate. There are three ways you can do this: using the microwave, the double boiler, or the saucepan.
Whichever method you use, be sure that the chocolate is completely melted, as this is crucial to achieving that perfect fudge consistency.
Once melted, pour the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture, along with the chopped walnuts and vanilla.
Beat the mixture on low speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and no longer glossy.
Spread the fudge into the prepared pan and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before slicing.
Use a sharp knife to make clean fudge slices. Serve it and enjoy!
How Long Should You Beat Fudge?
Once you’ve added the melted chocolate, nuts, and vanilla, you’ll need to beat the mixture for about 3 minutes, or until the fudge is super smooth.
Don’t worry if it’s no longer shiny – it really should look dull at this point.
Don’t overbeat the fudge or it’ll harden and will be unspreadable.
Tips for the Best Fudge
- Stir as fast as you can! Once you pour the melted chocolate over the cream cheese/sugar mixture, it will start to firm up pretty quickly. You want all the ingredients to combine well before that happens.
- Do not overbeat the fudge mixture. If you overwork it, it’ll be too tough or sticky that it’ll be almost impossible to spread it into the pan. Stop as soon as the fudge becomes thick like frosting.
- This cream cheese fudge is already absolutely delightful, but you can add even more flavor by stirring in your favorite mix-ins. Here are some suggestions:
- Dried fruit – for a chewy textural contrast.
- Flavor extracts – for and added layer of flavor.
- Want to make peppermint cream cheese fudge? Skip the nuts and vanilla and replace with 1/4 cup of crushed peppermint candies and a few drops of peppermint extract.
- For a marshmallow cream cheese fudge, stir 1 cup of mini marshmallows along with the melted chocolate into the fudge.
- Be sure to melt the chocolate well as it is the key to giving the fudge its smooth and silky consistency. Check the section below for detailed instructions.
- Speaking of chocolate, be sure to use a good brand. You can’t go wrong with Ghirardelli, Callebaut, and Belcolade.
- Don’t make fudge when it’s raining. Humidity will prevent the fudge from firming up. If left with no choice, cover the fudge with plastic wrap or foil and let it set in the fridge overnight.
- Give the fudge enough time to set, at least 3 hours. You can refrigerate it to speed things up, but don’t freeze it. Doing so will mess with its consistency.
Also, leave the fudge unbothered as it sets. Moving it around might make it grainy.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the fudge into squares. Wipe it with a piece of damp cloth in between slices for smooth edges.
You can also use cookie cutters to form other shapes.
- Store the fudge squares in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- For a longer shelf-life, freeze the fudge in a freezer-safe container, with a sheet of wax paper in between layers. It will keep well for several months in the freezer. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before consuming it.
- Do not store fudge at room temperature for several hours, otherwise, it’ll become too gooey.
How to Melt Chocolate
1. If you’re using a baking chocolate bar, chop it into small chunks. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave for 1 minute at 70% power.
3. Stir the mixture until it’s smooth and melted. If the chocolate hasn’t completely melted at this point, pop the bowl back in the microwave and heat it for another 30 seconds.
Do not microwave the chocolate for over 1 minute, otherwise, you’ll end up with scorched, gritty chocolate.
Double Boiler, Water Bath, or Bain-Marie Method
1. Boil water in the bottom pot of the double boiler. Reduce the heat to low. Fit the top pot over the bottom pot.
2. Add the chocolate chunks to the top pot and stir the mixture until completely melted.
If you don’t have a double boiler, fit a heat-proof bowl on top of the pot of boiling water and melt the chocolates as instructed.
1. Place the chocolate chunks in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until 90% of the chocolate has melted.
2. Turn off the heat and continue to stir until completely melted.
- Do not melt the chocolate at a temperature higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise, it will become gritty and grainy (seized chocolate).
- Likewise, do not over-cook the chocolate, especially when using the microwave. This can also lead to grainy, seized chocolate.
- If using the double boiler method, be sure the chocolate doesn’t come in contact with water. The tiniest drop of water will cause the chocolate to seize.
Before you melt the chocolate, be sure the top pot or bowl and mixing utensil are totally dry. Stick to a metal utensil for mixing – a wooden utensil retains water and can cause seizing.
- If your chocolate has seized, slowly add more chocolate chips into the bowl and mix until smooth and silky.
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