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Opera Fudge

This recipe for opera fudge comes courtesy of Rose Richard.

  • Yield: Makes 3 pounds
Opera Fudge

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, April Spring 2007


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature, plus more for baking sheet
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 ounce food paraffin


  1. Butter a rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

  2. Mix sugar and cream together in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a boil. Add butter, and cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, 50 to 60 minutes.

  3. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Let cool 2 hours. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in vanilla. Using your hands, begin to pull and press the mixture. Keep pulling and kneading mixture until it lightens in color, loses its shine, and no longer sticks to your fingers, 15 to 45 minutes. Roll mixture into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm and cold, about 10 minutes.

  4. In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, melt chocolate and food paraffin, stirring until smooth and well combined. Using a toothpick, dip each ball into chocolate mixture, and return to baking sheet. Refrigerate until fudge is chilled and chocolate has set, about 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Reviews (29)

  • MollyMcFudge 15 Dec, 2014

    I also grew up in Lebanon and ate pounds of opera fudge. What can I do to keep the consistency of the candy while halving the sugar? We now find the candy is too sweet. When I used less sugar, the taste was perfect for us but the consistency did not allow for it to be rolled or cut in squares. If you kept it refrigerated in the dish, you could eat it with a spoon but it was soft. Is there a stabilizing ingredient I can add to give it the texture it needs for rolling? Thanks!

  • Missylm 9 Nov, 2014

    Thank you Rose for this recipe. I grew up in Lebanon and couldn't wait till Easter and the Holidays game around to get some Opera Fudge! It's so funny that it is unknown outside Lebanon county. Having move to Lancaster County, I have been searching for years for this recipe since everyone I knew either wouldn't share or they passed away.
    I made this and nailed it on the first try!!! So excited. But I would like to know when and how much peanut butter to add?

  • persiancats 25 Nov, 2014

    Hi Missyln. I'm glad to hear you had success on your first attempt!! I love to hear success stories:-) I wish everyone would view the video before making it, there would probably be many more success stories. I too remember Opera Fudge as a young girl and the taste is something you don't forget - there's nothing else like it. When I was a teenager, my best friend's mother made it. I spent a lot of time in her home and observed her making it, never thinking I too would making it too:-)

  • persiancats 30 Nov, 2014

    Hi Missylyn....just saw your inquiry about the peanut butter. You add the peanut butter after you have worked the mixture by hand. You add peanut butter per your taste, start out with 1/2 cup and then gradually add per your personal taste. FYI - If you make a batch and can't get it to where you can roll it into balls, add peanut butter and it always rolls into balls. I personally don't add peanut butter as I love the original taste. Happy Cooking!

  • persiancats 11 Sep, 2014

    Hi everyone, I'm Rose Richard. I'm sorry to read the posts where the opera fudge didn't get to the desired consistency that makes opera fudge gets its reputation as one of the most wonderful confectionary you'll taste. It really is a very tricky candy to make. I URGE anyone wishing to make it to watch the part one and part two videos posted on Martha's website. There are SO many helpful hints that I learned my first times attempting to making opera fudge - worth the hard work:-)

  • Missylm 9 Nov, 2014

    I'm from Lebanon and grew up on this!! Just made it and nailed it the first time!! But I would like to know how much and when to add peanut butter?

  • jzechman21 7 Apr, 2014

    I attempted making this recipe and it didn't turn out right. I followed the recipe to the "t" and still ran into issues. I did not stir the mixture at all after first adding the cream and sugar and the pot had thick sides where the sugar built up. When I went to pour the mixture out on the pan the sides of sugar came out with all of it. So when it came to kneading and mixing by hand it was all grainy. Is there anyway to solve the issue of having the rim of sugar in the pot?

  • persiancats 30 Nov, 2014

    Hi jzechman21. What type of kettle did you use? I'm wondering if it was teflon lined or something that everything slides out. I always use a stainless steel kettle. You can also use an aluminum kettle. I never had an issue with all the sugary mixture sliding out, that's why I inquired if you used a treated kettle. Please watch the video for further hints etc. Good Luck!!

  • cookiemom613 25 Nov, 2013

    After reading some of the reviews I felt I needed to add a comment. As a Lebanon native I have been making this for 50 years. The temp(240) is to high, causing the dry crumbly mix upon beating. Ideal temp is 236 to 238 removing from burner when it beeps. Don't try to make this during high humidity or it will "sugar". We have always poured the hit mix onto a buttered heavy platter. I warm it in the oven while cooking the fudge, keeping the chance of condensation low, another culprit of the sugary

  • persiancats 30 Nov, 2014

    I agree with the temperature. Soft ball is usually 235 degrees. I also use the water method to guarantee the correct cooked temperature (as seen on video) Glad to hear your another Opera Fudge maker!

  • Iris Dyrhaug 27 Nov, 2012

    The first time I made this it did what a lot of people are talking about, it became hard and crumbly. I believe it 'curdled' and the butter oil separated ( that's why, at least in my case, it was oily). I was determined and KEPT KNEADING for a while. It let off more oil and was dry an and crumbly, but eventually it reabsorbed and came together as fluffy and pliable. It was not as smooth as the second time I made it(without this problem) but it certainly came together and tasted and felt great.

  • snowbird2 18 Oct, 2012

    I have been making opera fudge for 35 years. My recipe is a little different than this one, I don't add butter and it makes about 100 pieces. I have learned that making opera fudge is an art. When I first started mine sometimes sugared or was too soft but that hasn't happened to me in years. Making opera fudge can be frustrating but once you learn, it is well worth it.

  • Susan Amaya 13 Oct, 2012

    how many exactly does this make??

  • persiancats 30 Nov, 2014

    80 to 100 round balls, depending on how large you roll them.

  • dahlindahlin 10 Oct, 2012

    I also grew up making Opera Fudge at Christmas with my mother. She was given the recipe by a friend who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. The difference is that Mom would pour the unworked fondant on plates and it was whipped with a knife. She also made other flavors - maple/walnut, mint, and cherry. The candies were made several weeks before Christmas, layered with waxed paper in cookie tins and put in a cool place to "age."

  • lmcmanis 2 Apr, 2012

    For anyone who has successfully made this recipe - where did I go wrong? After the mixture cooled on the baking sheet, it was the texture/taste of caramel. After kneeding in the bowl about 20 mins it turned hard and crumbled. HELP!

  • persiancats 30 Nov, 2014

    You cooked it either to fast or too long. I urge you to try again, and watch the video prior to making it. Good luck!

  • AJDanko 29 Sep, 2011

    I grew up eating this candy, I remember my grandmother having it in her refrigerator, it was such a treat! My understanding is that the company that used to sell it in Lancaster has since gone out of business and I have been searching for YEARS to find out how to make it, Thank you SO much Rose and Martha!!! My family will be so thrilled!

  • OrpheusAscending 19 Mar, 2011

    I watched the video *after* making it and for anyone attempting this recipe, WATCH THE VIDEO FIRST!! There are a couple of vague instructions in the recipe that are made clear when you watch the video. Still don't know if I would attempt it again, but at least now I know where I went wrong!

  • SFC71 23 Dec, 2010

    I followed the directions exactly and it came out perfect! I did not add the foor paraffin because i didnt want wax in the candy, it didn't need the glossy shine. This was very time consuming but well worth it!!!!
    To all those with problems...did you watch the video?

  • OrpheusAscending 16 Dec, 2010

    This was my first time tackling something like this candy-wise. I followed the recipe to the "t" and even used two candy thermometers to make sure the temp was correct throughout the process. I kneaded the mixture for 15 mins then began to make the balls when -- I swear in a matter of SECONDS -- the consistency of the whole mass just changed! It went from a caramel consistency to a solid block of beige fudge -- and hard! Will NOT be making again!

  • autumnsage 30 Mar, 2010

    I've made fuge plenty of times with no issues. This however was a challenge. All went well until the kneading started. It never full came together or got that nice off white color. Instead it looked curdled and was way to sweet and caramelly tasting. I believe i'll try a recipe that contains corn syrup and heavy cream and see how that goes.

  • jesmartin 24 Dec, 2009

    My great-grandma, from Lebanon, PA, used heavy whipping cream in her recipe which was passed down to me. I have made opera fudge for the past few years. A few tips: 1) Do NOT stir or scrape the pot while it's boiling. 2) Do NOT scrape the pot when you pour the mixture onto the pan. 3) Do NOT refrigerate the mixture to cool it (this will make it very hard to knead). Hope this helps!

  • Cyndpa 18 Apr, 2009

    My sister in law and I tried to make this opera fudge twice and I am from Lebanon County where opera fudge supposedly originated from and this was a complete waste of valuable time! save yourself time and the hassle and just visit Lebanon County and pick up a box, each time we tried this it was gritty and tasted nothing like what I know of Opera fudge!

  • prinesskikio12 26 Dec, 2008


  • KrystynaInSydney 29 Nov, 2008


  • ok2stare 16 Nov, 2008

    I cant find light cream, what can I use in its place?

  • ltownsend 16 Apr, 2008

    Food paraffin is wax and it's edible but not digestible. To avoid it, purchase couverture n n n n n n a very high quality chocolate containing at least 32% cocoa butter, or add vegetable shortening; 1/4 cup per # of chocolate. It gives chocolate the shine and snap that nasty paraffin does.

  • jasang 27 Mar, 2008

    what is food paraffin?

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