Hershey’s Old Fashioned Cocoa Fudge
Published: December 12, 2017 · Modified: December 8, 2022
Hershey’s Old Fashioned Cocoa Fudge is the only real chocolate fudge in my opinion. It’s made with pure unsweetened Hershey’s cocoa and with each creamy bite you experience nothing but that pure rich cocoa flavor. No corn syrup, chocolate chips, or marshmallow creme. Just pure cocoa goodness!!
Hershey’s Old Fashioned Cocoa Fudge is without a doubt my all-time favorite chocolate fudge. Why? Because cocoa fudge doesn’t contain any corn syrup, chocolate chips, or marshmallow creme. What you get is the pure taste of rich bittersweet cocoa.
Cocoa fudge is not your typical 5-minute fudge on the stove. It’s a little more involved. In fact, I’ve had friends, relatives, and followers tell me they’ve flopped this fudge too many times and finally gave up on trying to make it. But guess what? Most of them really didn’t flop this fudge. They just gave up too soon!
I’ve made this fudge for decades and when I first started making it, I too pitched a few batches. But after a few “so-called” flopped batches, I was determined to get it right!! After all, Hershey’s cocoa isn’t exactly cheap and neither is sugar. After I finally realized what I was doing wrong, I realized those “so-called” flopped batches didn’t flop after all.
With that said, I want to walk you through the steps of making this insanely delicious fudge today, and if you’ll follow along and read my tips, I promise that you can make perfect cocoa fudge!!
After reading my tips and instructions, if you are still afraid of making this fudge, or if you’d rather have an extra sweet fudge made out of chocolate chips, feel free to make this Chocolate Fantasy Fudge recipe. However, I promise that if you follow my tips and try making this fudge just one time, you will be hooked for life. It’s that good!
Before we get started, allow me to elaborate on testing this candy. I test many different candy recipes in cold water, including some fudge recipes, but this is one candy recipe that does not test well in cold water for me, due to the thinness of the cooked candy. The candy should form a soft-ball when dropped into cold water but it doesn’t. It dissolves into the water, even when has reached a soft-ball stage. Therefore, I advise using a candy thermometer for this recipe.
Pro tips for making Hershey’s Old Fashioned Cocoa Fudge
- You need to make sure your candy thermometer is accurate. To make sure your candy thermometer is accurate see my post on how to Calibrate Candy Thermometers. An expensive candy thermometer doesn’t always ensure accuracy. A cheap $5.00 candy thermometer can sometimes be more accurate than a more expensive one.
- You need a heavy-bottomed pan.
- Don’t use an iron skillet. I don’t advise using an iron skillet. I know that back in the day, an iron skillet was used to make this fudge, but many home candy makers back in the day overcooked this fudge and it turned out hard, and grainy. An iron skillet gets very hot. Also back in the day, many people relied on the cold water test for this fudge which again, is not reliable.
I’m going to show you how to make perfectly creamy rich cocoa fudge, and the only hard part about this fudge is beating it until it gets thick after cooking and cooling it. I’ll admit that takes some elbow grease!
Are you ready? Let’s get started…
Cooking Hershey’s Old Fashioned Cocoa Fudge
- Add 3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa, 3 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups milk to a heavy saucepan.
- Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it comes to a bubbling boil. This could take up to 5 minutes.
- Once the candy comes to a boil, stop stirring and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer. This takes about 10 to 12 minutes, (12 on my stove), but yours could be different. Note: This is where you might think it’s undercooked but trust me it’s not. The candy will be very thin!! This is normal!!
- Remove the candy from the heat.
Cooling the fudge
- Once you remove the pan from the heat, place it in a sink of very cold water. I toss a few ice cubes in the water.
- Add 1/2 stick of butter, cut into pieces, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. DO NOT STIR OR MIX IN THE BUTTER!
- Allow the candy to come to almost room temperature. The candy will still be rather thin, dark, and very shiny at this point.
- Remove the pan from the water.
Beating the fudge
Now comes the hard part… beating…beating…and more beating. Yep…this is the only difficult step of the recipe. You need a good wooden spoon and a little elbow grease. Here are my tips for beating the fudge.
- I like to beat it for about 30 seconds and stop for 30 seconds. I keep doing this until it gradually starts to change from a shiny gloss to more of a less glossy but satiny look. The change is subtle and the fudge will start to lighten a little in color. There’s no need to constantly beat the fudge. Beat it and let it rest…beat it and let it rest.
- As soon as it starts to lose most of the glossy appearance and looks more like the picture on the bottom left below, nuts should be added if using, and it should immediately be spread into a prepared dish.
What size dish should I use when making this candy?
In the picture above I used an 8 x 8 dish. The result is thicker pieces of fudge.
In the picture at the top of this post, I used a 9 x 9 dish. This makes a thinner fudge. So it’s really up to you whether you want nice thick pieces or thinner pieces of fudge.
Can I freeze this fudge?
This fudge freezes beautifully. Make sure it’s in a sealed container. I place wax paper between the layers to prevent them from sticking together. Thaw on a countertop a few hours before serving, or thaw in the refrigerator if you like to eat it cold.
If you love the old fashioned fudge recipes without the added marshmallow cream, check out my recipe for Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Fudge.
If you make this recipe, please give it a rating and leave a comment to let me know how it turned out. I love to hear from you! 🙂Print
Hershey’s Old Fashioned Cocoa Fudge
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30
- Yield: 20 1x
- Category: Candy
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: American
This rich and delicious fudge is made of pure unsweetened cocoa..no corn syrup, chocolate chips or marshmallow creme. Just pure goodness!
- 3/4 cup Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
- 3 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- Line an 8 inch square baking dish or pan with foil. Allow the foil to hang over the sides. Lightly grease the foil with butter.
- Add cocoa, sugar, salt and milk to a medium heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. This will take up to five minutes. Once mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking without stirring until mixture reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer or forms a soft ball in cold water.
- Remove from heat and transfer pan to a sink with at least two inches of cold water. Add the butter and vanilla but do not stir. Allow pan to set in cold water until mixture reaches room temperature.
- Remove pan from cold water. Using a wooden spoon mix to incorporate the melted butter and vanilla. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to lose its shiny glossy appearance and starts to take on a satiny sheen appearance. This can take a while. See notes below the recipe.
- Add nuts if using, and immediately spread fudge into the prepared dish. Allow to sit for at least an hour before cutting into pieces.
- Store in a candy tin or airtight container.
- Parchment can be used in place of foil. There is no need to butter parchment paper.
- Yield depends on size of cut pieces.
- Here’s my tip for beating this fudge. Beat for about 30 seconds. Give yourself a break for 30 seconds and beat again. This is one fudge that will tire your arm. It will slowly change from a shiny gloss to a more satiny sheen. The change will be subtle. Be ready to add your nuts immediately, if using, and spread in dish.
Keywords: candy, fudge, cocoa fudge, chocolate fudge, Christmas candy, old fashioned fudge, Hershey's cocoa fudge, Hershey's old fashioned cocoa fudge,
My mother could make this, my husband could make this. I can’t. I either come out with rock hard or ice cream syrup!
Don’t feel discouraged with this fudge. It’s actually a tricky fudge to make. However, in response to your comment about “ice cream syrup”, lots of people think they’ve flopped the fudge when it’s runny like this when they actually have not. It’s rather runny when it comes off the heat. Once it’s placed in cold water for a few minutes it begins to somewhat thicken, then after a lot of elbow work, it finally starts to become the right thick, creamy consistency. So don’t give up! 🙂
I make this the same way, no cold water used though, I let it cool on it’s own on the counter, sets better…js
I’m so glad it turned out for you Mark. I think the cold water just moves things along quicker.
I am not a natural cook and make mistakes easily,
So I really appreciated how you walked me through
this recipe! My grandmother used to make it, and it was always grainy but still delicious! I’m 76 now, and it will be my first time! You have given me the confidence to try!
YAY! You have plenty of time to perfect it before Christmas too! 🙂
We used to have fudge parties, with several girls taking turns beating the fudge. Makes it more festive! But of course you all have to share the fudge then! Great for pajama parties.
That is a great idea, but as you said, you have to share the fudge. Lol. Cocoa fudge is a lot of work. I don’t know if I could share. Lol.
I make a very similar fudge to this from an old family recipe, and still practicing. It still comes out a little grainy, so I will try your tips. Thanks! I have a question. When I add the vanilla it seems to boil away. Instead I add it after the first cooking just before beating. Any thoughts on that? Thanks again!
Hi Sheila, Yes, you should add the vanilla after you remove it from the heat and before beating. Happy holidays! 🙂
I understand! I used to use my portable electric mixer for the beating; that worked well. Just had to be careful to stop soon enough. It’s always been my favorite fudge, among many other kinds I’ve tried.
I tried this with dairy free products, it’s runny sad. Any ideas
I’ve never used dairy-free products in this recipe. However…you might not have flopped the recipe. As mentioned in my recipe post, this candy is runny when it comes off the heat. You need to place the pan in cold water and let it cool to room temperature, then beat it by hand for several minutes. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out. If you make it again, don’t think you flopped it until you’ve cooled it and beat it for a while. Don’t give up! Happy Holidays!!
Ive had some luck using canned coconut milk. However we just made this and used full fat oat milk (refrigerated carton) and vegan butter. It set up perfectly!! Tasted amazing!
Thank you!! I had a hunch full fat coconut milk might work.
This is got to be the best fudge in the whole world!
My grandma made it my mom made it and I’ve been making it for years! Sometimes you do blow it and it won’t ever harden you just eat it by spoon especially when I tried to double the recipe and patience runs out I cut the Recipe in half because I will eat it all it’s cooking now and this is all your fault♥️♥️♥️
I didn’t know you could freeze this!
That is too funny!! I could never double it…too much muscle work. 🙂 Yes, it freezes nicely, and I always want to eat the entire batch!
Believe it or not, this was my grandmothers and was delicious. I made this fudge while visiting her in Tennessee at the age of 14 and it turned out great. Made it a few more times and it was always good. Haven’t been able to get it to turn out right for the last few decades now.
Just made a double batch of this fudge., pour into two 8×8 pans and realize I probably needed to beat longer. Probably is Not thickened enough. Do you think it will set up? Should I try to pour back into pot and stir longer. That’s the problem, I stirred and did not beat. Need some opinions please.
You probably cooked long enough, but you really have to beat this fudge. Beat it for a minute, stop for a 1/2 minute, beat some more… You can just stir it. Try beating it and see what happens. Let me know if it turns out. Good luck!
Am I not remembering correctly, but wasn’t the measurement for the cocoa 2/3 cup rather than 3/4 ? Have always loved this fudge. Hate Hershey took it off the label. Thanks for the play by play. It is tricky.
The original recipe did call for 2/3 cup. However, the strong bittersweet flavor of Hershey’s cocoa has somewhat diminished over the years. It’s not the same as it use to be. That’s why I increased the amount of cocoa to 3/4 cup.
Totally agree Hershey fudge is the best! My Mom used this recipe off the can as did I until Hershey came out with their recipe book in 1979 and it’s the same recipe we have used in our family for over 50+ yrs. 2/3 c Hershey’s Cocoa, 3 c sugar, 1/8 t salt, 1 1/2 c milk, 1/4 c butter and 1 t vanilla. I’ve always doubled the recipe since I can’t get enough. (:
I believe it called for 2/3 coco, I remember this cause..most measuring cup sets don’t have a 2/3 cup always had to have the Tupperware set as there were 6 pc cups and one was 2/3… using 3/4 will give it a more coco flavor…works for me! I had always believed refrigerating the fudge would make it grainy ( never tried it ) go figure! I never cooled it in a water bath, it would take me about an hour to make a batch..I have never used a candy thermometer only soft ball stage, and once you know what you are looking for, it can be reliable. But it’s a learned thing and hard to understand without seeing it..I love the way it’s explained here, even it I don’t do it this way..I will say if it’s grainy you over cooked it but it’s still yummy…is it’s running and won’t form up, it’s likely undercooked, and you can poor it back in the pan for more cooking, it does run towards grainy when u recook it! One last thing, I love the explanation of how to tell when to pour it in its pan, but my little trick is I lift my wooden spoon with fudge I it and write my three letter name I. The fudge, if I can still see the L when I get to the third letter, it’s ready to pour.
I have the original recipe. It says 2/3 cup cocoa.
Hi Elizabeth, Yes, the original recipe does call for 2/3 cup. However, over the years I’ve noticed that Hershey’s cocoa has seemed to change. The fudge, using 2/3 cup, doesn’t seem to be as rich and bittersweet tasting. Therefore, I increased the amount of cocoa to 3/4 cup to enjoy that original bittersweet flavor.
Can you please give me a rough estimate of how long to beat the fudge ( I understand the stopping in between part) would you continue this method for 5, 10, 15, 20 or more minutes?
It usually takes about 5 minutes for me, and that’s stopping and beating it. I hope this helps!
My mom made this every year when we grew up. It was my favorite because it was so much better than all the other fudges. It’s worth learning how to do.
I totally agree. I love the pure bittersweet flavor and no added marshmallow cream.
My paternal Granny cooked a special fudge she hoarded and only gave to her favorites., Daddy and my brother, There were my 3 sisters, Mama, and me, too! Did we get it? Half a piece. I asked that woman repetitively please give me her *real* recipe. The sneak always said, “The one on the Hershey’s can”. I *knew* that Daddy being her 1st born, in 1926, that she meant one on a can going back to way before the modern one. Nobody knew it. I asked *all* her favorites. She wanted to be the *star* .fudge queen. She lived to be 98. And she took her secret to the grave! I’ve made every veriation of Caro corn syrup fudge like on the can from half and half, to cream, to heavy milk..WHAT DID THAT SNEAKY WOMAN *DO* (major hair pull). I’m an expert candy and dessert maker. After Granny died the family has begged me, “Make it like Granny did, *please*!?! I’m making this now. And if I *finally* get it right, thanks to you, and I’m now 60? I will most likely be maniacally cackling, just like I’m sure Granny did every time she stirred her pot! And I shall be forever grateful to you! Thank you!
That is too funny! This is the original recipe. However, I will tell you that I believe Hershey’s cocoa has changed over the past few years. I’ve made this fudge for 40 years, and I’ve noticed lately that when I use the original Hershey’s cocoa, it’s not as dark and bittersweet as it used to be. Therefore, I’ve decided I’m going to add a tiny bit of the dark cocoa in with the regular, or even increase the regular by a couple of tablespoons if I want that bittersweet taste that I love so much. I hope it turns out perfect for you!
Thank you for posting this. Throughout my childhood, my Dad would disappear into the kitchen once or twice a year. No one was allowed in there until he came out. He would emerge a few hours later with a plate of this exact type of fudge. It was a super special treat for my brothers and me, as Dad and Mom probably got most of it. When I was 12 years old, I asked him to teach me and he did. I’m 61 now and my parents are both gone; that memory of being let in on the “secret recipe” for fudge is one of my favorites.
That is the sweetest memory! I have similar memories. My dad and I would crack open black walnuts and hickory nuts, and we couldn’t wait until my mom made old-fashioned peanut butter and cocoa fudge. There’s just something about that bittersweet cocoa. Such great memories! Have a great Thanksgiving!!
Once this comes to a boil while stirring constantly. Do I turn down to simmer without stirring until recommended temperature? Or do I keep it on meduim heat whole time until desire temperature is reached?
Yes leave it on medium, and once it boils you don’t have to stir but occasionally, and when it reaches soft-ball stage, it will still be runny. Don’t think that you’ve flopped it. Cindy
I should have read your instructions online instead of printing out the recipe. It looks like 254 on my printed copy, not 234! I’ve got something that looks a lot more like caramel than fudge. Tastes great, but not fudge. LOL!
I’m sorry it didn’t turn out. Yes, it’s 234, a soft-ball stage. It will be runny when you first take it off the heat. This is normal. Once you place the pan in cold water and cool it, then start beating it, it will begin to thicken. Some people think they’ve flopped it because it’s so runny at first, but it’s supposed to be that way. I’m sure it will turn out next time! Happy Holidays!! 🙂
It comes out perfect every time. Just takes patience. I also make the cocoa Fudge icing for my cakes. I find that takes more perfection to get it to the right consistency to ice cake before it gets too hard. But it’s worth it.
I don’t know about you, but this is my favorite fudge. I love the bittersweet flavor. Happy Holidays! Cindy
I’ve been looking for this recipe for some time. My mother taught me to make it and we made it pretty often for our big family! Sometimes it came out well and sometimes we just ate it with a spoon, but the best was in the winter when we could put it outside on an icy spot to cool. I can’t wait to try it again.
If you’re like me, it’s your favorite fudge. I love the bittersweet cocoa. Just make sure you don’t overcook it, (see my notes on the recipe). Many people overcook this fudge because it’s rather runny when it’s finished cooking. Good luck, and Happy Holidays!
This is my Mom’s recipe that she always used and I now do. Have you ever tried it with the dark chocolate cocoa? I did but it didn’t work. I think it has something to do with the fat content? Would love to know how to adjust the receipt for the dark.
Funny that you ask! I recently made a batch of Cocoa Fudge and I’ve noticed that Hershey’s regular cocoa has somewhat changed. My batch of fudge was not as dark and bittersweet in flavor as usual. Therefore, I’m going to increase the amount of cocoa to 3/4 cup on the next batch. If that doesn’t produce the bittersweet flavor I’m used to, I will try using about 1/3 cup of dark and 1/3 of regular. If you try it first, let me know how it turns out. Happy Baking! Cindy
My grandma made this fudge (yo the softball stage) and then used it as an icing on dark chocolate cake.?
Thanks! Great recipe! I’m 68 yo and made this fudge with my mother as a child. Today, hardly any fudge recipes require the hand beating after cooking, and many are not at all familiar with it.
I also have a white “fudge” (contains no chocolate at all) recipe that requires the hand beating after cooking and cooling, called Opera Fudge (MY personal favorite!), from a cookbook nearly as old as I am, that I have now.
Thanks again, for this recipe! Good memories!
You’re welcome! Although it takes a little elbow work, it’s my all-time favorite fudge. The Opera Fudge sounds wonderful. Anytime you want to share that recipe, I’d be love to have it. I love all the old-fashioned candy recipes. Have a great Christmas holiday!! 🙂
Our family makes this , however we only use 1 teaspoon cocoa it makes a blonde fudge. Still a family favorite.
What is room temperature for this fudge
Room temperature is around 68 to 70 degrees, or when it feels just barely warn, not cool…not really warm when you touch it. The cooler it is, the less time you spend beating it. However, you don’t want to let it sit too long in the cold water. I hope this helps! Happy Holidays!!
What SIZE saucepan should I use? I have a 2 1/2 Qt. Saucepan, is that large enough?
No, unfortunately, it’s not. I recommended using a 4-quart saucepan. There’s quite a lot of milk and sugar in this recipe and it will bubble up. Happy holidays!
Is the milk just regular homogenized milk or evaporated milk? Thank you
It’s regular milk. Happy Holidays!
Maybe I need a video tutorial.. what I have is a thick gummy, stringy mess that is so thick I can’t beat it, but it won’t set up. Followed the directions exactly. It took forever and a day to get the temp to 234 and then quite awhile for the temperature to come down. I have spent like 2 hours on this.
So sorry the recipe didn’t turn out for you. The candy will be thin when it comes off the heat. It needs to sit in cold water until it comes to room temperature. At that point, it needs quite a bit of beating. When it starts to lose the shiny glossy look and starts to have more of a sheen, it’s ready to immediately be transferred to a pan. Have you checked your candy thermometer for accuracy? It almost sounds like it was overcooked. Don’t give up yet. I suggest checking your candy thermometer. See my post on “how to calibrate candy thermometers.” Best of luck!!
After reaching 234, there is a ring of foam around the pan. After it cools to 130, the ring of foam is still there. What do I do with it – stir it in, remove it, or what?
Simply stir it into the candy. Happy holidays!
After 3 trys I finally got it right I’m so happy getting ready to make another batch for Christmas ❤️❤️
Yay!! So glad it turned out! Merry Christmas!!
This is the same recipe we use to make fudge. My granny used to make it and it has been a family favorite for years. We however cook it a little longer. We know it is ready to come off when you can put a drop in a bowl of ice water and it turns instantly into a small ball. We love our fudge to have that grainy melt in your mouth texture. I have made it both ways and family inside and others prefer the grainy. We don’t use a candy thermometer but sure wish I could figure out the temperature as it seems like it would be soooooo much easier. Love to know so many families love some granny’s fudge. ;0)
The temperature needs to be 234 degrees, a soft-ball. I test all my candies in cold water except for this recipe. It doesn’t form a soft-ball when it should, causing it to be overcooked or grainy. However, if you like it grainy, you should probably keep doing it the way you are in the cold water. Happy Holidays!
Ade my second batch and it turned out awesome thank you for the recipe and Merry Christmas to you too ☃️
Followed the recipe exactly. Did not stir when told, and guess what? Half of my fudge stuck / burned to the bottom of the pan. It was horrible to clean up, eve with my Ninja non stick pan. Had a great flavor, but I probably won’t make again.
Me too! I did fiddle with the recipie a little-I used evaporated milk instead of whole milk. But I was religious about not stirring after the boil started. This went on for 20+ minutes on medium high without my candy thermometer ever hitting 234! (I think this might prove my candy thermometer is a dud!) I suspected something was going terrible wrong when the boil-bubbles started to smell a bit burned as they popped. I stuck it out. The thermometer was stuck resolutely at about 230. Then the popping boil-bubbles started to smell a LOT burned! I yanked it off the stove and poured the contents (the part that would pour and was not burned like concrete to the bottom of the pan!) into a fresh glass bowl. The consistency was/is likeVERY thick caramel… WAY overcooked I think (due to a dud thermometer!) The butter and vanilla did incorporate with strenuous stirring (and folding! This stuff is THICK.) It eventually started to get a little less glossy. I stirred in my walnuts (what the heck did I have to lose at this point?!?!?) and dumped it into my prepared pan. It’s sitting in the fridge as I type. Haven’t tried to cut it yet, but the bit I was able to scrape from the bottom of the bowl tasted okay, not burned. I am afraid it may harden into a solid brick. I’ll be forced to use it as a paving stone in my garden. Or if it stays the stubborn, thick consistency it was when I squished it in the pan, it might be good for automobile tire repair. I’m pretty sure my 4 qt saucepan is beyond redemption. RIP. I’ll try to actually cut into it in the morning. Meanwhile, I need a stiff rum cocktail and the phone # for a PCTSD therapist. (post cooking traumatic stress disaster.)
My mom’s favorite recipe. She always added a big glob of peanut butter to it with the butter and vanilla. We would sit around on the floor while she cut us small pieces. Such great memories.
My mother in law. Makes hers that way too.the best fudge ever.
My mother, who passed away in Jan of 2020 always made this fudge every year at Christmas. She would always add 2 heaping tablespoons of creamy or crunchy peanut butter to it with the butter and vanilla at the end. That is the way I prefer it.
I recently watched a video where the butter was added at the beginning. Does it really make a difference? It seems like it would avoid the problem of sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pan.
I have also added 2 tsps of corn syrup before it boils as a precaution to prevent it from being grainy. Seems to work great and I don’t notice any difference in taste. I do however, only use 2 1/2 cups of sugar and 2/3 cup of cocoa.
I do make a Cocoa Peanut Butter Fudge recipe. The corn syrup…yes some people add this if they’re afraid of overcooking it. I don’t think it alters the taste in any way. With most old-fashioned fudges, the butter or peanut butter usually gets added in at the end. Although, I see people today adding peanut butter in at the beginning of some recipes, so I don’t know if it really matters. As far as the cocoa itself, I use the 3/4 cup. I’ve noticed the past year or so, it seems like Hershey’s has changed their regular cocoa. When I use it, the fudge seems more like milk chocolate rather than bittersweet. Merry Christmas!
I’ve made this fudge for over 60 years,I still use the original recipe off an old metal one pound Hershey’s Cocoa can. I believe you are correct about the newer cocoa recipe being different, I’ll use 3/4 cup cocoa instead of the 2/3 cup called for in the original recipe . A candy thermometer is a must and my failsafe is when the temperature is 232 I put a metal spoonful in my wooden spoon and stir very fast, when it’s ready it will set up in the wooden spoon also I’ve usually use black walnuts which are quite strong, but work great in this recipe.
I love black walnuts in fudge. I grew up eating black walnuts and hickory nuts in fudge, as those were the nut trees on our farm. Unfortunately, many people don’t care for them. There’s nothing like a good batch of cocoa fudge with black walnuts! 🙂
This is the recipe my mother used for many many years one Christmas she made 300 pounds of fudge for the church and friends of the church it’s the only recipe my family calls real fudge
My fudge does not starting boil in 5 minutes on medium heat why, it seems like it takes forever, I tried three times
Hi Vicky, That is rather puzzling. I’m assuming you have an electric stove stop? It might take a little longer, depending on whether you’re using gas or electric, but regardless of how long it takes to come to a boil, the important thing is cooking it to a softball stage, 234 degrees.
I used a candy thermometer….. followed the directions exactly……….TWICE!
Came out ROCK SOLID both times!
Wasted 6 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups cocoa!
Hi Cheryl, I’m sorry to hear that your fudge didn’t turn out. If the candy is hard, that means it has been overcooked. When it first comes off the heat it should be very runny. That’s why some people think they haven’t cooked it long enough. It’s not like other fudge recipes. You might want to check your candy thermometer. I always calibrate my new thermometers because most of the time they are off, especially the non-digital ones you buy at the store. It really sounds like a candy thermometer issue to me, that it’s reading under what it should, causing you to overcook the candy. Here’s how to calibrate them…https://mycountrytable.com/calibrate-candy-thermometer/
I have made this for years using my late mother in laws recipe. They are almost the same. She used evaporated milk and a full cup of cocoa. Delicious
After the fudge comes to room temp, and I beat it the required amount of time., do I put it in a square pan to set up or let it set up in the original cooking pot…then transfer to a square pan?
The minute it starts to begin to thicken, immediately transfer it to the square pan or dish.
Should this only be made with regular Hershey’s Cocoa or could you use the Special Dark alkalized cocoa??
Hi Donna, You can use the special dark, but I don’t suggest using 100% dark. I would use maybe half. I’ve used the special dark (100%) myself and did not like the results.
I am SO excited about finding this recipe! My Daddy used this recipe in the 1950’s and 1960’s., once a year, and only on New Years’s Eve. You see, he was born in 1909, and I’m sure, when his mother taught him to make it, ice was hard it come by. So, when it came time to start stirring, he’d go outside, where it was COLD, rest the mixing bowl in his left arm, and with a wooden spoon, would stir and stir and stir, without stopping, until it reached the proper consistency. For some reason, it was important not to stop, and to always stir in the same direction! I’m 70 now, and Daddy has been gone a long time. I’d never written down his recipe, so I am beyond happy to find it. What a treasure this recipe is! Thank you so much for sharing ❤️
Hi Constance, I love your memories! I have many memories of the holidays and my mom making this too. Wouldn’t trade those memories for anything! Have a great holiday!!
First time trying this fudge and it was a success!! Great tips to making it work..thank you. Hands down down so much better than marshmallows and chocolate chips. This fudge is buttery and just melts in your mouth.
Hi Connie, Yay…I’m so glad it turned out great. It’s hands down my favorite chocolate fudge. Nothing beats Hershey’s Cocoa in fudge. Happy holidays! 🙂
Nice recipe but not the original ‘on the can’ recipe. Amounts of each item too much. That is why it dissolves in the cold water. I’ve made the original recipe going on 60 yrs. I highly recommend the original. Ratio of sugar to milk is more than listed. I’m sure you have the flavor. It’s wonderful!
This fudge is the first candy I ever made! Trial and error but after I got it I never forgot! I’m old school! I always used the cold water test because I had no thermometer! I could tell when the bubbles. Started pulling downward it was near ready! This fudge is more like a Scottish Brick! Solid! But Sooo’ Rich in flavor! I love it!
Hi Cindy, My mom made the Hetsheys fudge using the Hersheys unsweetened baking chocolate bars. They were wrapped in a wax paper, inside a box. Do you have any idea how that would work with your recipe?
Hi Margaret, Great question! I recommend using a 4 ounce bar of bittersweet chocolate, which equals 12 tablespoons. 3/4 cup of cocoa is also equal to 12 tablespoons. I’ve thought about trying the bittersweet bar myself, since the quality of Hershey’s cocoa has sadly diminished over time. The original Hershey’s cocoa recipe calls for 2/3 cup of cocoa, and as you can see I’ve increased the amount to 3/4 cup. Let us know how it works! Happy holidays!! 🙂
I must say I’ve made this fudge since childhood. About 30 years ago while making it I was suddenly seized with a bad migraine. I turned off the stove and took a three hour nap. When I got up I turned the stove back on and carried on. Fudge turned out great! This was a family event and my sister printed the recipe out and titled it my three hour fudge!
That is too funny!! What a memory! Happy holidays!! 🙂
My mom made this exact fudge recipe every year. She did test it in cold water. Although I don’t think she really needed to after so many years. I remember beating this as a young girl. My daughters both know this as fudge. She used the same cast iron skillet to make it in and the same spoon.
Thank you so much for this article.
Hi Tami, You are so welcome! Have a great Christmas! 🙂
This was always our ‘go to’ recipe growing up and me or my mom would always make it but we had to do the softball stage in the cold water but we never seem to get it wrong. The only thing that we occasionally did differently was swirling in peanut butter in the pan either right before pouring it in the prepared pan or after.
I never understood how people liked the other types of fudge that you mentioned. They’ve always been too sweet, gummy and as you said didn’t have the depth of chocolate flavor that the cocoa fudge does. I still have the paper wrapped around an old old container of Hershey’s cocoa from many years ago that has the recipe on it.
This is the fudge from my youth! I absolutely love it. I made it again for the first thime in 30 years a couple of Christmases ago and it was great! The one thing I noticed is that the final change from glossy to satiny was a quick one, and I had to work fast in order to get it in the dish before it began to set. Not sure if I was beating too enthusiastically or not. However, even overset just a tad, it was amazing. The best melt-in-your-mouth fudge in the world.
This is how my Mom use to make her fudge. I tried a couple times, but ended up with gritty texture, so have up and resorted to making fantasy fudge for years. Maybe I will give this another try. Thanks for the tips!
Getting ready to do this. Do I use regular milk or evaporated?
Hi Dana, I use regular milk.
I remember my grandmother making fudge at Christmas (over 60 years ago), the kind that had to be stirred by hand. I’ve not liked any other fudge since then. This was my first try and it turned out creamy and beautiful! My husband loves pecans, so I doubled the amount. He loves it. Thank you for all your notes.
Hi Judy, You’re very welcome! Have a great Christmas!
4 stars for flavor and simplicity of ingredients.
It tastes good, but like some others experienced, my fudge was way too thick to beat after cooling. I had to warm it to get the butter mixed in but it was so stiff it was nearly impossible! Unfortunately it seized up/crystallized. If I make this again I’m mixing it right away.
Hi Jezebel, I’m sorry this recipe didn’t turn out. This fudge is not like other fudge recipes. Once you cook it to 234 degrees (soft ball), it will be very thin. Some people think it’s undercooked because other fudge recipes are thicker when they come off the stove. As soon as it reaches the soft ball stage, you should place the pan in cold water, add the butter and vanilla at that time and don’t stir. Once it’s lukewarm you can start beating it. You should not start beating it as soon as it comes off the stove. If it’s thick when it comes off the stove, you’ve over cooked it and it will be sugary and probably seize. You might also check your candy thermometer for accuracy. If it’s not digital, chances are it could be off. Here’s how to do a quick check…https://mycountrytable.com/calibrate-candy-thermometer/ Good luck next time! Merry Christmas!
I have been looking for the steps for this recipe. I can remember my grandma making the fudge. Using the water glass as a thermometer and putting the pan in the ice bath in the sink. Then when she would start the beating she would pull the spoon up and we could put our fingers in the stream. She would pretend to be mad when she did it. Her recipe was different. Sugar, cocoa, heavy cream, and cream of tartar. No butter. I have been wanting to do this for a long time to share with my nieces and nephews. A new generation of memories
I use the same recipe but add peanut butter to help thicken the fudge.
My Dad used to make this its awesome. I cook longer on lower heat I like my fudge Hard no mushy fudge here! You can add peanut butter also just mix it in good
We make this fudge, but rather than beating it in a pot we pour it onto a marble or granite slab. then we use a heavy duty metal dough/bench scraper and mix it with that on the slab. Rather than put it in a pan (which is also fine) we roll it into a log and cut off slices. It’s divine! We also find it easier to mix on the slab rather than stir in the pot, but it’s just a different way of doing it.
Hi Miriam, Thanks for that tip! That sounds like an interesting way of doing it, rather than beating it.
Thank you for the old fashioned fudge recipe! I remember my mothers fudge, without the marshmallow cream. And am looking forward to that taste again.