Oscars 2020: Fudge v Ferraro Rocher

Posted on 06 February 2020

It’s Oscars time, and we’re shifting our puns into high gear. My pick for Best Picture, Ford v Ferrari, has inspired Fudge v Ferraro Rocher, a chocolate-fueled dessert competition to help us reach the finish line without colliding into awards-night boredom.

This head-to-head contest will pit hand-crafted fudge made from All-American Hershey’s cocoa against the iconic chocolate-hazelnut candy from the Ferraro company, Italy’s own Big Chocolate. To challenge a best-seller from the people who invented Nutella takes some chutzpah—especially since I’ve never attempted fudge before.

Sure, there are quick fudge recipes that call for three ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and nuts. But no, I had to choose the thrill of making a real chocolate confection. To dial up the nuttiness to better compete with the Ferraro candy, I added chopped hazelnuts in with the traditional walnuts.

Hershey’s Rich Cocoa Fudge recipe sounded simple enough until I swerved into this note: “This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.”

This recipe calls for the steady nerves and precision of a race car driver. You have to watch for the temperature gauge to hit its mark for perfect caramelization. And then, as if in a tight turn, you need to beat the fudge like crazy before slamming on the brakes at just the right moment. Fortunately, this all came together, and the final fudge feels like victory. It’s smooth, rich, and just nutty enough.

In the end, the contest comes down to individual taste. We’ll see if classic American fudge beats out the highly engineered, crunchy Italian designer candy. No matter what, it promises to be a fun ride.

P.S. Also on the menu: Italian Marriage Story Soup, Leonardo DiCaprese Salad with Brad Pitted Olives, and Jonathan Pryce Cakes.

Fudge v Ferraro Rocher

Hershey’s Nutty Rich Cocoa Fudge, slightly adapted. 

  • 3 cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup Hershey’s Cocoa or Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ¼ cup butter (½ stick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I double to 2)
  • Chopped walnuts and hazelnuts
  • Ferraro Rocher chocolate hazelnut candies
  1. Line an 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.
  2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on a candy or instant-read thermometer, or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)
  3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). (If you need to speed up cooling, put pot into a bowl of cold water.)  Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss (about 7 minutes).
  4. Immediately stir in the combination of chopped walnuts and hazelnuts.
  5. Quickly spread into the prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature. Makes 36-64 pieces (1 3/4 pounds).
  6. Compare with Ferraro Rocher candies.
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