1 1/2 cups
nuts, broken into pieces and toasted
( Black walnuts, butternuts, pecans or English walnuts; we prefer black walnuts. approximately 2-ounce)
18 -20 whole
nutmeats, for garnish
- Before beginning to cook fudge, be sure to have an 8-inch square or round baking dish buttered (do not use non-stick cooking spray).
- Have hand held electric mixer set up and ready to use.
- Have butter, vanilla and nuts measured and ready to add.
- If you wish to have the nuts in the fudge, toast them in the oven at 350 deg F for 10 minutes shaking after the first 5 minutes.
- Set nuts aside to cool.
- Measure sugar, cocoa and salt into a 4-quart heavy bottom saucepan (I use either my aluminum-clad or copper-clad stainless steel dutch oven).
- Note: If the saucepan is smaller than this you will need to reduce the recipe or it will boil over!
- Blend together dry ingredients in saucepan, then add the milk, stirring until blended.
- Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Note: If mixture is spattering out of pan, reduce heat slightly.
- (Because of spattering, I like to use my long handled wooden spoons.) Boil until mixture forms a soft ball when tested in cold water.
- Remove from heat.
- Immediately add butter, vanilla and toasted nuts, if desired.
- Beat at high speed with electric hand-mixer until fudge begins to stiffen.
- Quickly, dump into prepared, buttered pan scraping sides of saucepan and spread evenly.
- Fudge will lose its gloss during this last step.
- While still warm, cut into desired servings.
- Garnish the top of each serving with a whole nut meats if desired.
- Attention: If the stiffening and loss of gloss occur simultaneously you have overcooked it.
- All is not lost, return to saucepan, add an additional tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons milk and melt until smooth over medium heat (fudge will still be edible, but will be somewhat sugary if this becomes necessary).