Old-Fashioned Cocoa Fudge

This is a cooked fudge which is delicious.  I started making it when I was a teenager.  Follow the recipe carefully.  Both the variations will be softer than the original recipe.

OLD-FASHIONED COCOA FUDGE

2/3 cup cocoa

3 cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 & 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts (optional, but oh, so good)

Butter a 9-inch square pan.

Put dry ingredients into a heavy 4-quart pan.  Stir together thoroughly.  Add the milk and stir in.  Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Turn heat down just enough so it continues to boil, but doesn’t boil over.  Boil without stirring to 234F on a candy thermometer or until a little dropped into very cold water forms a compact, but soft, ball.  Be sure to cook it long enough for the ball to hold together well. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla, but do not stir.  Let it sit off the heat until the pan is cool enough to hold your hand on the bottom.  (If you’re in a hurry, place the pan in a sink with several inches of cold water in it.)

Beat with a wooden spoon for five minutes.  Add the nuts, if using them. Continue to beat until the fudge thickens and loses its gloss.  Quickly scrape out into the buttered pan.  Cool and cut.

Variations:

1. Pour the oil off from one 12 ounce jar of natural peanut butter.  After the fudge is cooked, add the butter, vanilla, and peanut butter.  Drop the peanut butter into the pan of hot fudge by the spoonful to make blending it easier.  Immediately stir vigorously to blend thoroughly.  A firm wire whisk will help blend the peanut butter into the fudge quicker.  Beat in one cup of chopped nuts.  Beat slightly and  pour into the prepared pan.  Work quickly with this variation.  The peanut butter will cause the fudge to set rapidly.

2. Increase the cocoa to 3/4 cup.  After the fudge is cooked, add 1 cup marshmallow creme along with the butter and vanilla.  Cool to lukewarm.  Beat for 10 minutes and pour into the prepared pan.  If you like nuts in your fudge, add a cup of chopped nuts just after beating.

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