Why this recipe works
- You can choose the type of chocolate you prefer: dark, semi-sweet, milk, or white
- Making the fudge base like ganache ensures the chocolate doesn't burn
- You can adjust the amount of Kahlua to your liking, and add nuts if you prefer
Sometimes I just want a little bite of chocolate. Good chocolate. Creamy, dreamy, fudgy chocolate. Chocolate fudge is one of those candies that a little goes a long way to satisfying a craving.
The fun thing about chocolate fudge is that it can be flavored in so many ways, and can feature white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or (my favorite) dark chocolate.
With the endless variations that chocolate fudge affords, it’s nice to get creative with it.
Enhancing chocolate with coffee
One combination that I especially like is chocolate and coffee together. We already know that a great way to enhance the flavor of a chocolate item is to add some espresso powder to it. You see that in Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge, Tiramisu Truffles, and Black & White Cookie Cake.
That small amount of coffee flavor lends a foundation to the chocolate without showing itself. Add a little more coffee and you get mocha (like in these Mocha Chocolate Truffle Cookies).
Kahlua, a coffee-flavored rum from Mexico, is a great way to add coffee flavor with a kick. It contains two separate components, the coffee and the rum. Both are created separately using slow and careful processes, then they are blended together and aged for four months before bottling.
Sounds to me like many of the blended scotch and whiskey drams I’ve had.
I use this spirit in my Kahlua Cake. In that instance the alcohol bakes out, leaving behind a lush mocha flavor in that cake. Kahlua Fudge marries the best of both worlds - creamy dark chocolate with a hint of coffee liqueur. Sounds like a winning combination!
You'll need the following ingredients to make this Kahlua chocolate fudge recipe:
Chocolate: Use pure chocolate - the higher quality chocolate you purchase, the better your fudge will taste. The best type of chocolate to use are chocolate wafers or a bar of chocolate.
I like using dark chocolate in fudge because it contrasts nicely with the coffee flavor of the Kahlua. You can substitute semi-sweet chocolate or even white chocolate if you really want to highlight the Kahlua, just use less of the espresso powder or leave it out altogether. The lighter you go, the sweeter your Kahlua Fudge will be.
Espresso powder: Using espresso powder ups the coffee flavor and provides body and support to the chocolate.
Kahlua: Use a good quality liqueur, as you will taste it - now is not the time for cheap spirits. And unlike the Kahlua Cake mentioned above, the alcohol isn’t cooked out. Depending on how much you add, there will be a kick. You can cut back the Kahlua to ¼ cup if you want the fudge to be less potent. It shouldn't be given to children or pregnant women either way.
You can also replace the Kahlua with your favorite spirit or liqueur, like rum, whisky, or bourbon. Bailey's Fudge, anyone?
Sweetened condensed milk: Not only adds the necessary creaminess to the fudge, it's a timesaver because you don't have to wait for milk to boil away to the proper thickness. It also provides sweetness, so you don't need additional sugar. You can use store bought, or you can make cweetened condensed milk at home.
If you prefer to make Kahlua fudge without condensed milk, try my Dark Chocolate Whisky Fudge recipe, replacing the whisky with Kahlua.
Butter: Helps the fudge to firm up when set.
Nuts: You can add chopped nuts if you'd like. Pecans, walnuts, or pistachios would all work well here. Lightly toasting the pecans really brings out their buttery flavor, but I'd leave the walnuts and pistachios raw.
See the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to make chocolate fudge with Kahlua
Step 1: Chop the chocolate
Using a serrated knife (it grabs the chocolate better than a chef's knife), chop the chocolate into small chunks (photo 1). This will allow the chocolate to melt quickly in the heated milk.
Step 2: Heat the milk and butter
Heat the sweetened condensed milk and butter over medium-high heat until it's steaming and starting to bubble, about 200°F on a digital thermometer (photo 2). Remove from heat.
Step 3: Melt the chocolate
Add the chocolate wafers or chopped chocolate, then cover and let stand 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the ganache until it's smooth (photo 3).
Step 4: Add the flavorings
Add the Kahlua, espresso powder, vanilla, and nuts (if using), and stir until it's combined (photo 4).
Step 5: Transfer the fudge to a pan
Transfer the fudge to an 8- x 8-inch collapsible pan that's been greased with butter. If you don't have an 8- x 8-inch collapsible pan, you can use an 8- x 8-inch baking pan. Line the pan with foil, allowing the excess paper to overlap. Grease the parchment or foil with butter.
Smooth the top using a small offset spatula (photo 5). Let the pan set for 4 hours at room temperature, then chill for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.
Step 6: Cut the fudge
Portion the fudge into 1-inch square pieces (photo 6). Cut each slice, in one stroke if possible, with a knife warmed in boiling water and wiped dry each time.
Store the fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The fudge will last for 4 weeks. To freeze the fudge, wrap it first in wax paper, then in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped fudge in a ziplock bag. It will last for several months.
It also ships well for your faraway family and friends, wrapped in plastic and sealed in a ziplock bag.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions you might have...
I like using dark chocolate in fudge. It contrasts nicely with the coffee flavor of the Kahlua and it’s not overly sweet. But not everyone shares my obsession with dark chocolate.
You can make your Kahlua chocolate fudge with the chocolate of your choice.
Substitute semi-sweet chocolate or white chocolate if you really want to highlight the Kahlua. Just use less of the espresso powder (or leave it out altogether). The lighter you go, the sweeter your Kahlua Fudge will be.
With or without nuts? That’s truly a personal preference. Adding nuts adds texture and another flavor profile to play with.
Use chopped nuts like pecans, walnuts, or pistachios in this Kahlua fudge recipe. Lightly toasting the pecans really brings out their buttery flavor, but I'd leave the walnuts and pistachios raw.
When you make fudge using the traditional method, you're melting the chocolate first, then adding the sweetened condensed milk and cooking it to a particular temperature. If you don't stir that mixture, large sugar crystals form as the fudge cooks. Since this Kahlua fudge recipe uses the ganache method, you won't have that problem here.
Make fudge like chocolate ganache
In general, making a chocolate fudge recipe isn’t difficult, but the methods can vary from one recipe to another. Most involve melting chocolate in a saucepan, double boiler, or microwave, then stirring in sweetened condensed milk (and sometimes butter) and letting it set in a pan.
Another variation is the one I use for Dark Chocolate Whisky Fudge. Melt chocolate with butter, mix whisky with powdered sugar, then stir, stir, stir until combined.
The commonality with both methods is that you must melt the chocolate first, then add in the liquids. You need to be watchful to make sure that the chocolate doesn’t burn, a hazard especially easy to do when using white chocolate.
Also, you must be careful not to get any water in the melted chocolate or it will seize up, and then you have to start over. That’s not fun when you’re using good quality (and likely relatively expensive) chocolate.
The ganache method
I turn the process around and make my Kahlua chocolate fudge like I would a recipe for chocolate ganache: warm the sweetened condensed milk and butter, then add the chopped chocolate to the warmed mixture before adding the flavorings.
This way insures that the chocolate doesn't burn (especially white chocolate). Plus, you don’t need a double boiler. Isn’t that easy? It’s the ganache way or the highway, baby!
Treat yourself or someone special
Kahlua fudge is smooth and creamy, with a pronounced mocha flavor and boozy kick. It makes a great adults-only gift for the holidays or a treat for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day or Date Night.
Actually, it’ll make any day special - just a bite of rich, creamy, dreamy Kahlua Chocolate Fudge.
It’ll conquer that chocolate craving straightaway!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Try these recipes next
Remember, even though these recipes use dark chocolate, you can generally use the chocolate type of your choice: dark, semisweet, and milk chocolate. Go ahead and use your favorites! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
I hope you like this recipe! Do you have any questions I can help with? Let me know! Or, if you made the recipe, I'd love for you to leave a comment and rating. Thanks!
Easy Kahlua Chocolate Fudge
- 36 ounces dark chocolate wafers, or solid chocolate bar, chopped (6 cups), see Recipe Notes
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, about 1½ cups
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup Kahlua, see Recipe Notes
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup nuts, chopped, optional, see Recipes Notes
- Lightly grease an 8- x 8-inch collapsible pan with butter. Set aside.
- Using a serrated knife (it grabs the chocolate better than a chef's knife), chop the chocolate into small chunks. This will allow the chocolate to melt quickly in the heated milk.
- Heat the sweetened condensed milk and butter over medium-high heat until it's steaming and starting to bubble (about 200 °F on a digital thermometer). Remove from heat.
- Add the chocolate wafers or chopped chocolate, then cover and let stand 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the ganache until it's smooth. Add the Kahlua, espresso powder, vanilla, and nuts (if using), and stir until it's combined.
- Transfer the fudge to the buttered pan and smooth the top using a small offset spatula. Let the pan set for 4 hours at room temperature, then chill for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.
- Portion the fudge into 1-inch square pieces. Cut each slice, in one stroke if possible, with a knife warmed in boiling water and wiped dry each time.
- Storage instructions: Store the fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The fudge will last for 4 weeks. To freeze the fudge, wrap it first in wax paper, then in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped fudge in a ziplock bag. It will last for several months. It also ships well for your faraway family and friends, wrapped in plastic and sealed in a ziplock bag.