Old Fashioned Fudge

  • 1-1/3 cups milk or evaporated milk
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Get out a large sauce pan, 3 or 4-quart sized. In it combine the milk and sugar. Start heating the mixture over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa, salt and corn syrup. Mix very well to dissolve the cocoa. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to cook until it reaches the Soft Ball stage when a small amount is dropped into a bowl of cold water, or 234° on a candy thermometer. When it does, remove the pan from the heat and place it on a dish towel or cake rack to cool down. Add the margarine and vanilla, but don’t stir. Remember, Don’t Stir it yet. Just let it sit by itself in a corner, almost forgotten. Let it cool until the bottom of the pan is barely warm to the touch, or about 110°. This may take as long as an hour, so be patient. When the fudge has cooled down, start beating it with a spoon or whisk. Very quickly (sometimes less than a minute, sometimes a couple of minutes) it will start to loose it’s glossy, shiny appearance on top. When it just begins to loose this reflective quality, immediately pour it into a pan greased with margarine. You should grease the pan ahead of time, while the fudge is cooling in the pot. Shake the fudge in the pan to spread it evenly. Or if that doesn’t work, try to spread it out with a spoon. Allow it to cool and harden, and then cut it into pieces. I use a 7 by 10-inch pan to set up this fudge, a 9-inch square pan would work too. As would an 8-inch square pan, although the pieces would be a little thicker.

Don’t scrape the sides of the pan while you are making this recipe. The sugar on the sides of the pan will cause the whole batch to crystallize and it will still taste good, but have a grainy texture. I really recommend a candy thermometer for candy recipes. The cold water test is a skill that takes a lot of ruined batches to develop. This recipe makes about 2-1/4 pounds of fudge, it is so good I can’t even tell you, you have to make it for yourself. Makes an excellent gift.

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julie kirk - December 11, 2009

Do you have the recipe for gingerbread cookies in a jar? Can not find it but would love to make. Love your website!

Merry Christmas,

Ono - December 18, 2009

Julie, try google. I just googled it for you and got hundreds of responses.

Stephanie - December 9, 2010

Thanks for the recipe. I was looking for a recipe that did not call for marshmellows or chocolate chips since I don’t have any on hand.

Debbie - May 21, 2011

I finally found a recipe that had all the ingredients that my Grandmother used. I tried your recipe and it was delicous, just how I was hoping it would taste. My Grandmother has been making this fudge since she was a little girl. She no longer has the recipe and can’t remember it. I just put “old fashioned fudge” and the ingredients in a yahoo search and foud your recipe!!

I am a fudge junkie!!! Marshmellow fudge is fine for emergencies, but there is no taste on this planet like old fashioned fudge!!

Thank You for the recipe, from Debbie, San Fernando Valley, California

    Jan McCarty - December 23, 2011

    some recipes have you stir while cooking to softball stage and others do not. In this recipe from Hillbilly housewife did you stir it while cooking?? I know that you do not stir after cookiing until cool.

Catharine - July 10, 2011

This recipe is AMAZING! This was only my 2nd time making fudge…the 1st time I used the old Hershey’s recipe and cooked the sugar too long and it ended up really dry and crumbly. This time I bought a candy thermometer and used the soft ball measurement. After letting it cool I started to beat it and I started to get a little nervous because it felt like I was beating it forever and it wasn’t losing it’s gloss….I kept beating though…It finally lost it’s gloss(you have to really watch for it because the process happens pretty fast) and I quickly poured/pressed it in the pan and it was set all in about a minute. My husband who doesn’t like fudge said he has never had anything like this before….he said it was like a brownie that is smooth and melts in your mouth like butter….he said hands down the best fudge he has ever had! This recipe is a keeper! It will be one of those recipes I will hand down to my daughters when they are old enough.

sharon neal - November 22, 2012

This recipe is like my mother’s and grandmother’s. The fudge was always very good. Granny always beat hers with a wooden spoon, whereas mother used a mixer to give it a wonderful creamy texture.

Jeff - November 27, 2012

How long does this take to cool and harden?

Tracy - December 23, 2012

Just wondering if it is ok to use butter instead of margarine.

Melissa - November 25, 2014

This is very similar to what my mother used to make. I remember her putting the pan in a sink full of cold water to cool.

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