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Mom's Cocoa Fudge

I got this recipe from my mother back when I was still a student.  The first time Dan and I made this fudge, we let it boil too long and thus destroyed an enameled saucepan at the home of a former president of Yale University (where we were house sitting while the family vacationed at Martha's Vineyard.)  So I recommend using a candy thermometer.

2/3 c. powdered cocoa
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
1 t. vanilla

Combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.  Place these in a heavy saucepan, and slowly stir in the milk.  Using medium heat and stirring continually, bring the mixture to a boil.  Keep the  mixture at a slow boil, without stirring, until is reaches the soft ball stage (235° F)  Remove from heat, then add butter and vanilla without stirring.  Cool at room temperature to about 110° F.  Beat by hand until the fudge just begins to lose some of its gloss.  Spread quickly into a lightly buttered 8-inch square pan.  When it has completely cooled and set, cut into squares.

Notes:

1.  I like this fudge for the intensity of its chocolate flavor and for its texture, in which you can detect the crystallization of the sugar.

2.  As you beat the fudge, it will begin to thicken.  Once the fudge begins to lose its gloss, you need to get it into a pan quickly before it becomes too stiff to work with.
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