Rich Cocoa Fudge
36 pieces or 1 3/4 pounds
3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa or Dutch processed cocoa or dark cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil at least 2" over ends of the pan. Butter foil and set aside.
In a heavy large saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa and salt. Stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches soft ball stage or 234°F to 240°F on a candy thermometer.* Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread into prepared pan.
Cool completely. Using the extended foil edges, lift fudge from pan. Place on cutting board. Peel off foil. Cut into squares.
For best results, test the accuracy of the candy thermometer prior to making fudge.
Softball stage occurs when a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water.
Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.
For best results, do not double this recipe.
Nutty Rich Cocoa Fudge: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and spread quickly into prepared pan.
Marshmallow-Nut Cocoa Fudge: Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup. Cook fudge as directed. Add 1 cup marshmallow creme with butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Cool to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat 8 minutes. Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Pour into prepared pan. (Fudge does not set until poured into pan.)
Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.
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