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People who follow a vegan diet typically do not eat any kind of animal products, including meat, milk, butter, cream or cheese. Vegan food must be made without many of the common animal-based ingredients found in baked goods, candies and many other dishes. A special recipe just for vegan cooking will typically be the best way to make vegan fudge, at least at first. In some cases, a standard fudge recipe can be used, with vegan ingredients substituted for animal products, though this may not always work. There are also different types of fudge, such as cooked and non-cooked varieties, and flavors that may call for different kinds of food substitutions in vegan cooking.
Making fudge usually calls for basic ingredients such as butter, sugar, milk, vanilla extract and chocolate or other flavor chips. Cooked fudge is typically made by melting the butter and cooking the sugar into it until it forms a syrup that will harden the fudge when it cools. Non-cooked fudges rely on the density of the ingredients to make them thick and easy to cut into pieces. Anyone who has trouble with cooked fudge may wish to try non-cooked vegan fudge first because it can usually be adjusted more easily while mixing. A non-cooked batch that seems too thin, for instance, can often be thickened with the addition of a little flour or other dry ingredients without ruining the recipe.
Vegan fudge that does not have to be cooked beyond melting sugar into the wet ingredients can be made with a variety of ingredients. Some types of mashed fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, can help give the fudge a creamy texture. These types of non-cooked vegan fudge may require refrigeration to firm up and hold their shape. Cooked fudge generally stays firm at room temperature, though some vegan varieties may still need to be chilled to harden properly.
Cooked fudge may be easier to make by following a vegan recipe rather than substituting vegan margarine, milk and chocolate chips into a standard recipe. This is because the butter is a key ingredient in non-vegan cooked fudge. Butter or margarine mixed with sugar are often used to cook into a syrup that eventually gives the fudge its shape and texture. Some vegan margarines may not cook in the same way and won't create that needed firmness when cooled. Vegan recipes may call for ingredients such as almond butter, soy or coconut milk, and special vegan chocolate chips in much different amounts than one might find in a regular fudge recipe as well.
It is important to remember that the texture of vegan fudge will likely be at least slightly different from regular fudge. In addition, recipes that are meant to be creamier than others are more likely than drier recipes to need constant refrigeration to hold their shape and firmness. Experimenting with different vegan fudge recipes is probably the best way for most cooks to learn to make fudge without animal products.