Fun Fudge Fact

By Mir
December 15, 2009

Alternate title: Why it’s not a good idea to go to the store while you’re distracted.

Alternate alternate title: Paying attention is generally overrated, except not so much when it comes to baking.

Alternate alternate alternate title: Maybe the teachers really want some potato chips for gifts this year?

This is going to completely blow your mind, so I hope you’re sitting down. Okay? Okay.

It turns out that EVAPORATED MILK is not, in fact, the same thing as SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK. It’s true! And handy to know if you think you’re baking fudge today, you moron.

You’re welcome.


  1. Brigitte

    Oh, and half-and-half is NOT a viable substitute for whipping cream. I’ve only been baking since I was 10 . .

  2. Heidi

    Glad to know other people have similar troubles to me. I always get baking powder and baking soda confused. Thankfully I’ve caught myself in time but I know the day is coming when I won’t. Isn’t holiday baking fun?!?

  3. Heidi

    Feh, I say to holiday baking. FEH!

  4. Lori N

    And for those baking for vegans or the egg allergic: egg beaters or liquid egg substitute is still an egg product. (Not my mistake, but one I luckily caught in time. sigh)

    Bring on the holidays!

  5. natasha the exile on Mom Street

    And if you have to melt chocolate for icing and then “cool it to room temperature before adding to the butter mixture” don’t ACTUALLY cool it all the way to room temperature.

    If you do you’ll have chunks of ganache in your icing.

    Which, while tasty, doesn’t provide the Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake experience that your husband was probably looking for in his birthday cake.

    At least I can blame it on the preschooler’s help.

  6. Javamom

    You seem to bake a lot. So my question is this: do all your household members eat the baked goodies? In my house, everyone wants to bake, and then I’m the only one eating. My skinny jeans are, um, uncomfortable. Baking is officially canceled (just as soon as I finish my last cookie recipe).

  7. Mary

    Reason #5 why I don’t bake. Ever.

  8. ChristieNY

    Oh yes, I’ve accidentally substituted condensed milk for evaporated. It actually makes for delicious pumpkin pies, by accident. Sorry the fudge didn’t turn out, I bet the attempts would be heavenly mixed in with some vanilla ice cream… plus I’ve heard “chai tea” is all the rage for teachers this year and amazon has some sampler packs marked down through subscribe and save. Just sayin’. ;)

  9. Noelle

    I once used ground ginger instead of cumin by mistake. Turns out there’s a big difference. My Mexican dinner turned into way over spiced Thai food real quick. Yuck!

  10. Kate

    Could be worse. My SIL once used sweetened condensed in mac and cheese.

  11. Amelia

    Oh, and by the way? TODAY is not the day of the Teacher Appreciation Breakfast! TOMORROW is the day of the Teacher Appreciation Breakfast! Which means that those two breakfast casseroles I baked this morning and wrapped carefully and took to daycare TODAY are totally useless! WOOOOOOT!

    You’re not the only one, Mir :).

  12. Frank

    Things like that remind me why I happily do the Cooking in the house… but NOT the baking. :)

  13. abbey

    Yeah, sadly I learned this in college the hard way…

  14. Amy

    Oh yes. I discovered that whilst making homemade ice cream for my friends in college. We waited and waited and waited some more for it to freeze. Which it never did. After about three hours of the ice cream maker spinning we just drank it. It was delicious though!

  15. Dana

    I have definitely bought sweetened condensed milk that just sits in my cupboards for years (since I don’t use it for any recipes) when I really wanted evaporated milk. Marshmallow or marshmallow cream fudge made with evaporated milk is my standard fudge recipe and it always gets rave reviews so I say you can still make fudge. Be adventurous!

  16. Nicki

    Holidays are the time for these kinds of mistakes. One year my mother accidentally used poultry seasoning instead of dry mustard in the macaroni and cheese we were planning on having for dinner just before the Christmas Eve service. Needless to say, it was the last time we ever had her cook on Christmas Eve. Pizza delivery was way safer and less stressful.

    PS. Teachers love potato chips. I’m sure.

  17. Julie

    Why, I *am* making fudge for teachers today. Now maybe I need to check my can of milk to see if I have the correct thing…

  18. Em

    Ya KNOW… they sell fudge at the store. I’m just saying.

  19. Kim

    1 Bag Chocolate Chips (or any flavor)
    1 Tub Pre-Made Frosting (Pillsbury or whatever)
    Heat the ingredients in small saucepan until bubbling. Continue to bubble for about a minute and then pour into 8×8 baking pan. Cool and cut into squares.
    Seriously good and easy AND requires no milk of any kind! I’ve used vanilla frosting and peanutbutter chips too.

  20. meghann

    I am making 7 kinds of fudge this year. And homemade cocoa. Don’t you wish you lived near me? Oh wait, you kind of do. Ha.

  21. Beachgal

    OMG Kim, that sounds like something even *I* can do. I don’t bake much, I suck at it.

  22. Tracy

    OMGosh..really. That’s so good to know. In Louisiana, fudge is a delicious delight because our humity is so bad, fudge is rarely what you end up with. Most of the time, it’s fudge syrup. YUM…just as good but in liquid form.

  23. Ironic Mom

    Hilarious. I love your alternate titles.

    I’m a mom, a teacher, and a blogger. Here’s a suggestion: Why don’t you copy the story you wrote and attach it to a small box of store-bought chocolates? That will go miles with your teachers.

    Spoken by one who sucks at baking – just check out my first (and last) foray into gingerbread making:

  24. Jamie

    Laughing with you, not at you, Mir!

  25. Katie in MA

    There’s a reason I have shelves and shelves (oh, okay – cans and cans) of both in my pantry: I always buy the wrong kind, which I never use, and then stock up on the right kind so I don’t have to rush to the story at the 11th hour. Not that it’s happened to me….

  26. Brenda

    I once (accidently I assure you) put sweetened condensed mild in my tater tot casserole instead of evaporated milk. Dinner and dessert all in one!

    Oh and one Christmas we were visiting my parents in Oklahoma which is not where I grew up so we knew absolutely none of the neighbors and neither did my parents for that matter since they were renting for a few months while looking for a house.

    My Mom and I started to make peanut brittle and she discovered she had no baking soda like two seconds before we HAD to add it. My brave husband went out at 8:00 on a cold winter night to total strangers to borrow a teaspoon of soda. Hey, at least we took them over a plate the next day!

  27. Kendra II

    I don’t know why, but I’ve gotten them confused too…and I’m a “scientist” (a blonde scientist) and know that condensed is not the same as evaporated…well kind of but not really…

    Maybe it’s that they both come in cans…

    sorry ’bout the fudge.

  28. bonuela

    i have NEVER made that kind of error. well, maybe that’s because when you buy a mix all of the ingredients are already in the box.

    when i was an exchange student in chile i learned a neat little trick. put an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan covered with water. boil for at least 2 hours, adding water as it evaporates. this turns it into “manjar” or dulce de leche as it is also called. it is wonderful on bread or ice cream or if you have food restrictions, a spoon. :-)

    (make sure the can is completely cooled before opening.)

  29. Beth R

    “Maybe it’s that they both come in cans…”

    And those cans look so gosh-darned alike! It’s a conspiracy, I tell you! A world-wide Keebler elf conspiracy!

  30. Shannon

    I always have to write out the full thing on my list with stars etc. to remind me that it’s evaporated and not condensed milk that I want when I am making fudge. For some reason Sweetened condensed milk seems to want to jump into my cart instead!

  31. Megan

    Heh – anyone know what Toad in the Hole is? Family favorite: Yorkshire pudding with sausages in (why YES it’s just as healthy as it sounds!). My Child 2 was making it for cousins and found out the hard way that powdered sugar and flour while similar in colour and consistency are remarkably different otherwise…

    (recipe: 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, tbsp melted butter, salt and pepper, 5 or 6 sausages. Heat oven to 475, cook sausages in oven-proof pan, mix rest of ingredients – checking carefully that flour is indeed flour – and pour over sausages, then bung in the oven until puffed and deep golden brown. Eat immediately)

  32. Karen

    Hate when that happens.

  33. Karate Mom

    Oh, Mir! That’s funny simply because of the trials I’ve had with making Million Dollar Fudge, which is a tradition in our house that cannot be skipped or altered in any way.
    I think that there are two reasons that it’s called Million Dollar Fudge. The first is that if you mess it up when you pour the sugar/evap. milk/butter mixture over the chocolate because the sugar isn’t the perfect temperature and Mars isn’t perfectly aligned with Venus, it costs a million dollars to re-purchase the ingredients. (I’ve done that MORE THAN ONCE!)
    The second reason is that if you burn out your Kitchen Aid mixer while making said fudge, it feels like it’s going to cost you a million dollars to replace the mixer. That was my trick this year! Guess what I’m getting for Christmas?

  34. kim

    Powdered sugar and cornstarch look remarkably alike, too, but cornstarch makes for really nasty mint chocolate chip cookies.

    And I once came thisclose to adding the soy sauce from my sushi lunch to my incredibly expensive homemade dark chocolate cake instead of vanilla. Note to self – do not use the same prep bowls for both next time. Mis en place may not be worth it….

    I love baking!

  35. Anna

    I still haven’t figured those two out, and I consider myself a pretty experienced cook. My current fail is cornstarch. Nothing I’ve cooked has set up.

  36. Tracy

    Yeah, I once accidentally flipped over a cut-out magazine recipe for cobbler. Didn’t notice till it said to add two chicken breasts. Attention in baking? Key.

    That was some really salty cobbler!

  37. MomCat

    Potato chips dipped in dark chocolate are actually quite delicious.

  38. Heather J

    Just as an FYI. You shouldn’t reach for spices with a stuffy nose and your glasses off either. Cinnamon does not taste good as the main spice in meatloaf. My husband will never let me live that one down.

  39. Amelia

    OK, I am sorry to be the nosy mama here, but in response to bonuela’s comment: don’t boil sweetened condensed milk like that. I know people who do it, and I knew one woman who had done it dozens of times without incident…until one day she was doing it and the can exploded while it was boiling. It didn’t burn her too badly, but it did splatter a bit onto her hands and arms. She still has scars, 10+ years later. Plus she had brown sticky sugar stuff all over her kitchen, including her ceiling. That’s why there’s a warning on the can about it.

    OK, I’ll stop now. I just don’t want anybody to get hurt.

  40. tuney

    1. To Amelia and bonuela: Perhaps a double boiler is a better solution.
    2. Fudge = BIG. FAT. FAIL. for me (no pun intended). I have never been able to make good fudge, although I never had access to Alton Brown before. I should try again.
    C. I bought a jar of chili powder once that had cinnamon and a couple of other spices in it (dunno who was smoking crack to think that was a good idea). It took some getting used to, and I wouldn’t try it again, but it was edible.

  41. mom, again, again

    I always buy one of each, because I can never remember which one goes in the pumpkin pie. Then I have the other leftover until the next time I need some sort of canned food drive comes along (usually soon enough this time of year). We much prefer old-fashioned fudge, the kind made with actual milk. The kind that isn’t gooshy and soft.

    (Amelia and bonuela, it’s probably safer to describe the boiling of the milk in the can as SIMMERING. Exploding cans of milk could result from a hard boil. Even easier is to use a slow cooker.)

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