Mexican chocolate fudge DSC 5634

Mexican chocolate fudge

At Christmastime my senior year of high school, I had a classmate who was going through a tough time, so another friend and I thought it would be nice to share with him something sweet. After much deliberation, we decided to make him fudge.

Now, neither one of us was much of a cook nor had we made fudge before, but like most Texans we’d certainly grown up eating it. All over the state, you’ll see slabs of fudge for sale at rest stops, cafés, and gift shops. You’ll also, of course, see it in people’s homes.

While fudge doesn’t have a season, this time of year it’s especially popular and squares of it jostle for position amongst the trays laden with cookies, candies, and pralines. Fudge comes in an infinite variety of flavors, as you can combine anything with the creamy, sugary base, so you’ll see peanut butter fudge, cranberry fudge, pistachio-cranberry fudge, and, my favorite, chocolate fudge.

Mexican chocolate fudge | Homesick Texan

Fudge is qualified as a candy, as it’s prepared by heating sugar to a set boiling point to transform it from liquid into something more solid. There are many ways to go about this, but the recipe that my friend and I used back in 1986 was perhaps the easiest way to begin your fudge-making journey: we made it with marshmallows.

What makes this method so appealing is its simplicity. You melt marshmallows along with sugar, butter, half and half, and chocolate, then spread it into a pan. After chilling for a couple of hours it hardens, then you slice and serve. And that’s it! There’s no need to use a candy thermometer so it’s an excellent way for inexperienced cooks or young people to make candy.

For some purists, this method may be cheating but I think it’s a smart hack as marshmallows are a sugar confection as well, so melting them to form a foundation for the candy saves you a step. It’s also not a new-fangled recipe as fudge made with marshmallows has been in practice for over 100 years. On the East Coast, it was once popularly known as Wellesley fudge, as students at the eponymous Massachusetts college were said to prepare the fudge in their dorm rooms. Though in a 1910 article in the Jacksboro (TX) News, a recipe appeared under the name marshmallow fudge.

For mine, I enjoy stirring in chocolate and pecans, while adding cinnamon, vanilla, and small pinch of cayenne, which gives it the flavor profiles of Mexican hot chocolate. I call it Mexican chocolate fudge. Other welcome additions to the marshmallow and chocolate mixture would be a spoonful of espresso powder, dried fruit, or walnuts instead. It’s a solid base open to anything.

Mexican chocolate fudge | Homesick Texan

That afternoon 33 years ago was a revelation as my friend and I spent time in my family’s kitchen whipping up our batch of candy. While I had been concerned about tackling something so complicated, as we stirred the pot and watched it all come together, I was amazed at how easy it was to make prepare. When we shared the fudge with our friend, he loved it, and I know that your loved ones will feel the same, too.

5 from 2 votes

Mexican chocolate fudge

Servings 16
Author Lisa Fain


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped roasted pecans


  • Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper.
  • In a medium saucepan, while stirring, heat the butter, sugar, and half and half on low heat until melted and well combined.
  • Stir in the marshmallows, turn the heat up to medium, and while continuing to stir bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or until all the marshmallows are melted, and the mixture is thick and in strands. When you pull the spoon up, it should be in thick strands like taffy. It's very important that the mixture gets hot enough or it might not set. (If it's super humid, however, it may never set.)
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pecans until well combined. The chocolate chips should melt immediately and the mixture will be thick. 
  • Spread the fudge evenly into the prepared pan and refrigerate covered for 2 hours or until set. To serve, lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into 16 (or 32, if you prefer) pieces.

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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. I so love your recipes! The frito chocolate candy is a fave!! How long will this fudge keep and can it be frozen? Thanks and happy holidays!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Suzanne–It keeps a week. While I haven’t frozen it before, I believe you could with no problems.

  2. mine hasn’t setup – been in the fridge for 3 hours now – kinda like cold chocolate frosting – tastes great though

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Michael–Hmmm, that’s strange. I’d need more information to know why it didn’t set up as I’ve never run into that problem with this recipe! Did the marshmallows boil? Between the sugar and dairy it should solidify in the fridge.

      1. that may be it – I boiled it for 5 mins – maybe not hard enough though – I was worried about it sticking/burning. I’ll toss this batch and try again – will report back – thanks!

        1. Lisa Fain says:

          Just keep stirring it while it boils and the mixture shouldn’t stick. And I wouldn’t toss the other batch–you should use it for frosting!

          1. Suzanne from above here again. Mine didn’t set up very well either. Very thick and sticks to the knife when cut but delish. I followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT upon reading the recipe again now, I didn’t cover! My marshmallows were stuck together in the bag but tasted fresh. Maybe not covering or sticky marshmallows were the culprit? Thanks!

          2. Lisa Fain says:

            Hey Suzanne–Covering it or not shouldn’t have an effect on it setting. Not sure what happened!

  3. I let it set overnight, used a sharper knife and it cut much better this morning; thanks! Off to the post office to mail it to the NYC son!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Suzanne–Glad it set! I reckon more time was what it needed.

  4. Looking forward to making this today! One question, is the brown sugar packed or just a loose cup? Hope that makes sense

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Julia–It’s packed.

  5. Mine didn’t set up enough to pack in tins for gifts but it is so good in spoonfuls from the fridge. Something this delicious can’t be left out on the counter in my house! Thinking maybe topping for vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the recipe and Merry Christmas from Austin!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Cathy–I’m sorry that it didn’t set enough for you–perhaps it didn’t get hot enough (or perhaps it’s too humid), but I’m glad you still find it delicious! Merry Christmas to you, too!