What the Fudge?!

By Blake Silberberg ‘13
University Communications

Among the multitude of snacks and sweets offered at the Common Market, one of the more popular treats is the homemade fudge. But do you know where the fudge is made, or by whom?

Meet Kiara Medina ‘15 and Jessica Brogdon ‘16, the current University of Rochester Candy Engineers. The Candy Engineer position is passed down from year to year, with only two being active at a time. Medina, a junior business major, was an employee at the Common Market before she expressed interest in taking over the fudge position from a graduating senior. Brogdon, a sophomore epidemiology major, was hired specifically for the position, based on her previous restaurant experience.

As Candy Engineers, Medina and Brogdon are solely responsible for making the homemade fudge sold at the Common Market, a process that usually involves meeting to cook about once a week, although that can change quickly depending on demand for the fudge.  Medina and Brogdon are also in charge of creating the fudge flavors, a process relying on creativity almost as much as their cooking skills. The first part of the fudge making process is where Medina and Brogdon brainstorm the flavors of the week, planning out combinations of different candies, toppings, and sauces. Conceived sometimes in advance, sometimes spontaneously, Medina and Brogdon are masters of flavor combination.

rsz_3fudge1During their tenure as Candy Engineers, Medina and Brogdon consider their most successful flavor to be Cookies and Cream, which combines vanilla fudge, crushed Oreos, and Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy. Fluffernutter and Rocky Road, however, are not far behind. The least popular flavor? Surprisingly, maple. During my visit to the kitchen, the engineers had decided on three unique flavors using a vanilla base: dark chocolate fudge with Reese’s Cups, raspberry jam with Rolos, and vanilla fudge with Fluff, chocolate covered peanuts, and chocolate chips.

Medina and Brogdon’s lab is a small kitchen across the hall from the Common Market, where their massive fudge making machine, known affectionately as “Bertha”, resides. Medina and Brogdon first choose the “base” of their fudge, either vanilla or chocolate. Then, they use Bertha to slowly mix and melt the base into warm, gooey, molten fudge. While the fudge base is in the machine, Medina and Brogdon lay out their toppings in the fudge pan, reserving some to top the fudge with as well. When the molten fudge mixture is smooth, the engineers pour it over the toppings, mixing with a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients, creating swirls in the fudge as the toppings combine with the base. Medina and Brogdon then arrange the remaining ingredients on top of the fudge, layering the surface with candy or sprinkling crushed candy on top. “We try to focus on both presentation and experimentation,” says Medina.

So next time you stop by the Common Market for a snack, be sure to pick up some in-house, student engineered Fudge!


Scare Fair Brings Students to Library’s Hallowed Halls

By Alayna Callanan ’14
University Communications

Yesterday afternoon the 2013 Scare Fair was held in Rush Rhees Library, attracting dozens of students to the Library’s hallowed stacks, some for the first time.

Named one of the top 10 most epic college Halloween celebrations by HerCampus, the Scare Fair is an annual event held to encourage students to enter and use the stacks. Art Librarian Stephanie Frontz said when the event originated many years ago, the current librarians heard that students were scared to go into the stacks. Part of the day’s event was a scavenger hunt that requires students to enter many of University of Rochester’s nine libraries on campus. Students were rewarded with new knowledge, candy, and a stunning view from the top of the Rush Rhees tower.

For the first time in Scare Fair history, the elevator original to the building of the Library in 1930 broke down halfway through the event. Clearly there was a ghost at work, trying to prevent students from seeing the best view on campus! Students who missed the opportunity to take the Tower Tours yesterday had their name and email taken for a rain check on the event.

Other events included performances by Sihir Bellydance, Genesee Story Tellers, Hon Korean Percussion, Mariachi Meliora, and D’Motions.  There was a great turnout for the costumes contest with students, faculty, and children alike. A fourteenth century fool flipped around host Dean Paul Burgett, while another student dropped to the floor after being killed by her inorganic chemistry exam. Luckily the Plague Doctor, Sanjay Dharawat ’14, was there to save lives! But only saving 40 or 60%, the percentage saved is left to your imagination.