1. Line 8-inch (2 L) square baking pan with buttered foil, extending foil over edges of pan.
2. Stir sugar with cocoa and salt in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan; stir in milk. Set over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F (112°C) on candy thermometer or until 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.)
3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla; do not stir. Cool at room temperature until lukewarm (temperature reaches 110°F/43°C). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread in prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store tightly covered, at room temperature.
Makes about 3 dozen pieces.
Note: • For best results, do not double this recipe. This is one of our most requested recipes but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.
Variations: • Nutty Rich Cocoa Fudge: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup (250 mL) chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and spread quickly into prepared pan.
• Marshmallow-Nut Cocoa Fudge: Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup (175 mL). Cook fudge as directed. Add 1 cup (250 mL) marshmallow creme with butter and vanilla; do not stir. Cool until lukewarm (or temperature reaches 110°F /43°C). Beat for 8 minutes; stir in 1 cup (250 mL) chopped nuts. Pour into prepared pan. (Fudge does not set until poured into pan.)
High Altitude Directions: • Increase milk to 1 2/3 cups (400 mL)
• Use soft ball cold water test for doneness. Or to adjust thermometer temperatures accordingly, read thermometer temperature in boiling water, subtract difference from 212°F (100°C). Then subtract that number from 234°F (112°C) to determine what the soft ball temperature should be for your altitude and thermometer.
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