Butterless Chocolate Cocoa Fudge Recipe
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Butterless Chocolate Cocoa Fudge

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Spray the sides of a 2 1/2- to 3-quart saucepan with a non-stick vegetable coating (e.g. PAM, Crisco). Mix the sugar, cocoa, salt, cream, and corn syrup in the pan. Stir over moderate heat (stirring slowly and carefully to avoid splashing the mixture on the sides of the pan) until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover the saucepan for 2 or 3 minutes. (

Covering the pan causes steam to form, which dissolves any sugar granules that may cling to the sides -- one grain of sugar can start a chain reaction and turn the whole thing granular. And the buttered pan helps; incidentally, it also keeps the fudge from boiling over. If the pan has a spout and is therefore not airtight when you cover it, carefully hold a pot holder over the opening.

Now uncover, and place a candy thermometer in the pan. Boil without stirring until the thermometer reaches 236F or the soft boil stage. (Professionals advise 234 to 236F during cold weather; 236 to 238F in warmer weather.) It is important now not to stir, mix, shake, or disturb the mixture. Very carefully and gently remove the saucepan from the heat. Do not remove the thermometer; do not stir it. Let stand until temperature drops to 110F.

While the fudge is cooling, prepare a pan for it. I like to use a small loaf pan, which makes a 1 1/4-inch-thick layer of fudge. Mine is called an 8 x 4-inch pan, which measures 7 x 3 1/2-inches on the bottom of the pan. If you use a larger pan the fudge will be just as good but not as thick. Fold two pieces of aluminum foil to fit the loaf pan, one for the length and one for the width. Press them into place in the pan.

When the fudge has cooled to 110F (at that temperature the bottom of the pan will feel comfortably warm to the palm of your hand) remove the thermometer. Add the Vanilla. Now, to beat the fudge, use a moderately heavy wooden spatula or wooden spoon. Virginia's system, which works very comfortably, is to sit and grip the pan between your knees, leaving both hands free to grapple with the spatula. First stir gently to incorporate the melted butter. Then start to stir steadily or to beat, and once you do, do not stop until the fudge is finished.

Beat until the fudge becomes very thick, or falls in thick globs, or is thick enough to almost to hold its shape when a little is dropped from the spatula. At this stage it should barely begin to lose it's shine, but only barely. It should still be slightly glossy. Quickly stir in the nuts and quickly, with the spatula, push the mixture into the lined pan. It will be too thick to pour. You should not scrape the pan too well; scraping encourages grainy fudge. Quickly push the fudge into a smooth layer in the pan; it may be easiest to use your fingertips or your knuckles.

The fudge may be ready almost immediately (even while it is still slightly warm) to be cut into individually portions. As soon as it feels firm, but before it hardens, remove it from the pan by lifting the foil, and with a long, sharp knife cut the fudge into portions. I like to make 12 large squares, but you can make 24 or more. Do not let the fudge dry out. Wrap the squares immediately, individually, in cellophane or wax paper. Or package them in a airtight container. Fudge is best the day it is made, but it will keep for a few days at room temperature if it is well wrapped. For longer storage, freeze it. It can be frozen for months.

 

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