2/3 cup unsweetened natural Hershey's cocoa powder
3 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups milk (may use 3/4 cup evaporated milk, reconstituted with 3/4 cup water)*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nutmeats
Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, extending sides over edges of pan; set aside. In a 4-quart saucepan, mix cocoa with sugar and salt. Stir in milk. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to sides of pan (do not let bulb rest on the bottom of the pan). Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234 degrees (soft-ball stage). Remove chocolate mixture from heat and add butter. Without stirring and left undisturbed, allow the chocolate mixture to cool to a lukewarm 110 degrees. Remove thermometer, add vanilla and nutmeats (if using) and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and just begins to lose its gloss. Quickly pour mixture into prepared pan.
Allow candy to set, then cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, between sheets of waxed paper. Will keep fresh about week one.
Kitchen Ade note: Rinse pot with cold water before using. This helps to keep the sugar syrup from sticking to the sides of the pan. Also, to prevent boil-overs and to break air bubbles as they rise, place a long wooden spoon over the top of the pan. To keep cooked fudge from becoming dry and grainy, do not refrigerate.
* For the purposes of this recipe, 3/4 cup evaporated milk, reconstituted with 3/4 cup water, was used.
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