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Opera Fudge


This recipe for opera fudge comes courtesy of Rose Richard.

  • Yield: Makes 3 pounds

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 Add a comment

  • rsdotc
    28 JUL, 2017
    I have tried numerous other recipes for this candy and failed I had it in northern ky on a cake and came home and started immediately trying to make with only horrible fails. This recipe the first time making it and it is perfect!!!! Very easy to follow and simple instructions it went fast it cooked fast and cooled in 30 minutes I put the mixture in my kitchen aid stand mixer and viola . I am shocked and thrilled I keep looking at it on my counter lol. ❤️ Thanks again candy lady and Martha you rock ......
  • 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
    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:-)
  • 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?
  • 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
  • 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??
  • 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."