Old Fashioned Chocolate Pecan Fudge
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick butter, cut in slices
2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
16 pecan halves
Line the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan with aluminum foil; butter the foil. Set aside.
Stir the sugar and milk in a deep, heavy saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, frequently washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Do not boil.
(It’s difficult to see through the milk to check whether the sugar is fully dissolved, so take your time and be conscientious about stirring. Undissolved sugar will ruin the fudge.)
Add the butter, chocolate and corn syrup and stir to melt.
Clip a candy thermometer inside the saucepan and raise the heat to medium, bringing the mixture to a low boil. Boil until the temperature reaches 240° F., watching carefully after the thermometer reaches 220° F. Do not overcook.
Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Don’t move or jiggle the pan once you’ve put it down to cool. When the thermometer reaches 110° F., stir in the vanilla and chopped pecans.
(It will take over an hour for the chocolate mixture to cool to 110° F.. Don’t get impatient.)
Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture in the saucepan until it becomes very thick and stiff, somewhat lighter in color and less shiny. When it’s sufficiently beaten, the fudge will not stream off the spoon. This may take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the weather. Once you start beating, don’t stop.
Immediately push the fudge into the prepared pan, using a spatula to get as much fudge as possible out of the saucepan without scraping any granulation from the sides of the saucepan. Work quickly to smooth the fudge and push it into the corners of the prepared pan. With the tip of a knife, mark 16 squares and press a pecan half into each square. Let the fudge cool until firm (20-45 minutes depending on the weather).
Lift the foil and fudge out of the pan. Cut the fudge into squares, on the marked lines; serve immediately or store unwrapped in an airtight container or wrap individually in plastic. The fudge does not have to be refrigerated but can be.
Source: The Christmas Kitchen, A Sumptuous Treasury of Recipes, Menus, Gift & Party Ideas for the Holiday Season by Lorraine Bodger.