Ibarra Chile Fudge

Chile Fudge - A wonderfully rich fudge made with Mexican chocolate and cayenne pepper for a little heat. This recipe is the perfect mix of spicy and sweet!

I don’t know if you’ve been to a candy shop recently, but fudge is fudgin’ expensive!

It’s just sugar and chocolate but you would think that it was filled with gold bullion.

When it comes to making candy, I think fudge is a pretty beginner item. It does require a bit of patience and you’ll need a decent thermometer, but assuming you can watch a thermometer and stir occasionally, it’s pretty easy to make really good fudge at home for 10% of the cost most candy shops charge.

I had never actually made fudge before I tried out this Chile Fudge recipe. I decided to use some of the Ibarra chocolate left over from my mole attempt and toss in some cayenne to give the fudge a little bit of heat.

One of my favorite flavor combos is spicy mixed with chocolate so I knew that if I could get the fudge process down then I would end up with some pretty tasty candy.

Mexican Chile Fudge

16 fudge squares
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A wonderfully rich fudge made with Mexican chocolate and cayenne pepper for a little heat. This recipe is the perfect mix of spicy and sweet!

Recipe adapted from an Alton Brown recipe.


2 3/4 cups sugar
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 ounces Ibarra chocolate
1/4 cup butter, divided in half
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch of salt


1) Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside for later.

2) Combine sugar, half and half, chocolates, corn syrup, half of the butter, and a pinch of salt in a medium pot. Put over medium heat and stir constantly until sugar and chocolate are completely dissolved.

3) Bring mixture to a simmer. Cover pot and let simmer for three minutes.

4) Remove cover and give the mixture a quick stir. Attach your candy thermometer. Heat the mixture until it reaches the soft ball candy stage – around 235 degrees Fahrenheit.

5) Remove fudge from the heat. Add butter to the mixture, but don’t stir it. Let the fudge cool slowly until it cools down to 130 degrees.

6) Add vanilla and cayenne pepper and begin stirring fudge with a heat resistant spatula. Stir until the fudge turns from silky and shiny to matte in texture. It should start to thicken as well.

7) After stirring for 4-5 minutes, pour fudge into an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper.

8) Let fudge cool in fridge for at least four hours.

9) Cut fudge into 16 pieces and serve or store in the fridge for up to a week.

Chile Fudge

Fudge Basics

There is really just two tricks to fudge.  First, you have to heat it to a pretty precise temperature.  Then you have to slowly cool the fudge so that crystals form out of the sugar.  Once the fudge hits a specific temperature, you stir it like crazy to break up the crystals as they cool and also incorporate air into the fudge.

We’ll talk more about all of this later.  The good news is that for a basic fudge like this the ingredient list is pretty short.

basics for Chile Fudge
Just a few ingredients

If you don’t have Ibarra chocolate handy,  you can just use four ounces of good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips.

The Ibarra chocolate is really interesting though. It’s much more brittle and sugary than most American chocolate.

chocolate - Chile Fudge
Good stuff.

Starting the Fudge

Step one to making fudge is just to melt everything down.  Combine half of the butter, the chocolate, the half and half, the corn syrup, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a pot and put it over medium heat.

in the pot - Chile Fudge
Stir stir stir!

This will be a pretty thick mixture but will thin out as the sugar and chocolate dissolve.  Stir it constantly as it heats so the sugar and chocolate don’t burn in the pot.

After about five minutes of cooking, everything should be dissolved.

melted - Chile Fudge
Make sure all the sugar is dissolved!

The next step requires a bit of faith and I had my doubts that it would work.

Bring the fudge mixture to a slight simmer over medium heat, then cover it, and let it cook, undisturbed, for three minutes.

I’m not entirely sure why this step is necessary, but Alton said to do it, so I did it, and it worked.

cover - Chile Fudge
3 minutes. That’s it.

The Temperature Game

Temperature control is the name of the game now for the fudge so make sure you have a good candy thermometer.  As far as I know, you can’t really eyeball this.  The hot fudge looks basically the same at 225 degrees or 250 degrees.

Once you uncover the fudge, give it a quick stir just to make sure it isn’t sticking and then return it to the heat and attach a candy thermometer.

If you’re in the market for a candy thermometer, I wouldn’t recommend the kind I’m using in these photos.  It’s glass and is pretty fragile.  Get a metal one.

Anyway, once your thermometer is attached, just watch it closely (no stirring) until the temperature reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit.

check - Chile Fudge
235 is the goal.

At that point most of the water is cooked out of the fudge so it will thicken nicely but it won’t turn into a solid, hard block.

Then we just need to cool the stuff down!

Take it off the heat and add in your reserved two tablespoons of butter.

Then let it cool to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  This should take around 10-15 minutes.  Don’t go too far though.  If the fudge cools down too much, it will harden in your pan and be ruined.

low heat - Chile Fudge
A slow cooling.

Stir Time

Once your chocolate is cooled down to the right temperature, you can stir in some extra flavor.

flavors for Chile Fudge
Awesome flavors.

Then just start stirring the fudge!  It’ll start off silky and smooth and as you stir it, air will incorporate into the fudge and cool it off more.

After 4-5 minutes of stirring, the fudge will start to thicken and it will very obviously change textures.  It will go from a silky look to a matte look.

It was kind of hard to capture in photographs, but this was pretty close to my finished texture.

stirring the Chile Fudge
Keep stirring!

At this point the fudge will thicken rapidly so don’t leave it alone.  Keep stirring and scoop the fudge into an 8×8 baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

This is looking good!

Yum! Chile Fudge
Move quick!

Stick this pan in your fridge for around four hours for the fudge to harden completely.

Then you can pull it out and remove the parchment paper.  I sliced my Chile Fudge into 16 cubes.

Chile Fudge - Macheesmo
Really good stuff.

If you wanted to, you could fold some nuts into the fudge after it cools down to 130 degrees.  I’m not much of a fan of nuts in my fudge.

By itself, this Chile Fudge is a really rich fudge.  The cayenne is my favorite part.  You don’t taste it immediately, but then it hits you on the back of your tongue and is awesome.

For my first fudge attempt, I was really happy with the results.

15 Responses to “Ibarra Chile Fudge” Leave a comment

  1. This looks amazing! I’ve never tried making fudge, I don’t really like to fuss with thermometers, but this flavor combo sounds fantastic. I love spicy chocolate.

  2. I always toss in about a teaspoon of instant espresso crystals. Something about the coffee flavor that intensifies the chocolate.

  3. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t see any point in the instructions that dictate when to add the sugar. I wish I had noticed that before I started, because I just ruined 4 oz of very nice chocolate… Now that I’m going back through it, I can sort of see a mountain of sugar behind the butter in the picture, so I’m guessing I was supposed to add it with the first ingredients?

  4. I think that the point in putting on the lid and cooking it undisturbed is that it means you don’t have to “wash down” the sides of the pan with a pastry brush, never a fun thing. My guess is that the steam condenses on the lid and then runs down the side to wash the sugar crystals back into the fudge.

    *time passes*

    Yes, that’s exactly the reason: “Cover the pan with a lid for about 2-3 minutes to allow the sides of the pan to wash themselves down and dissolve any sugar crystals.’


  5. I realised that I didn’t explain the whys of washing down the pan. Here’s a clear instruction about how and why it’s done.

    ‘At several points in the caramel-making process, you will want to wash down the sides of the pan. When cooking sugar syrups it is common for sugar crystals to form on the sides of the pan, and if they are not washed off, they can cause your candy to be unpleasantly grainy. To remove the crystals, wet a pastry brush and brush the sides of the pan where the sugar syrup is bubbling. Continue to dip the brush into clean water and wash the sides of the pan until you do not see any sugar crystals. You can repeat this process several times during the cooking, if necessary.’

    Clearly, using the lidded method is a lot less fiddly! I wish I’d known about it years ago.

    Oh, and the not stirring is also about protecting the texture of the fudge.

    ‘When you cook up a batch of candy, you cook sugar, water, and various other ingredients to extremely high temperatures. At these high temperatures, the sugar remains in solution, even though much of the water has boiled away. But when the candy is through cooking and begins to cool, there is more sugar in solution than is normally possible. The solution is said to be supersaturated with sugar.

    ‘Supersaturation is an unstable state. The sugar molecules will begin to crystallize back into a solid at the least provocation. Stirring or jostling of any kind can cause the sugar to begin crystallizing.’


    1. Hey Jason, I generally recommend actually weighing it for accuracy. You can pick up inexpensive little kitchen scales at most stores these days. Good luck!

  6. you mentioned using 4 oz of semi sweet if needed. I am wanting to use 4oz of Ibarra instead of combining with semi sweet. Have you any advise on this?

    1. Hey Stephani, I haven’t personally tried that substitution but I would worry that it might not melt quite as well. I think it would be okay but probably not quite as good of fudgy smooth texture as if you used some semi-sweet chocolate. If you try it out, report back!

  7. I made fudge the other day in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and it turned out great. Threw the Iberra with some dark chocolate in a cooking bowl with a can of condensed milk, and some vanilla extract and mixed it together. Set the bowl on the rack, and added a cup of water to the inner pot. Set the pressure for 10 minutes, and walked away. Fifteen minutes later I stirred it all together with some other goodies such as black walnuts, and put it into the molding pan. Left it overnight in the fridge, and it was great. No muss, no fuss, and no standing over the stove praying that I won’t burn anything.

  8. This fudge is magical!! This was my first time making a fudge and the instructions were so clear and the flavor and texture of the end result are incredible. The amount of spice is just right and the Ibarra really comes through nicely. I did underestimate how long it takes to heat and cool everything. I doubled the recipe and in total everything took me about two hours. It takes patience but it’s well worth it. 5 stars!

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