Lemon Pecan Fudge

3 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup cocoa
Dash of sea salt
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
12 ounces evaporated milk (not skim)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest; grated
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces

1. Combine the sugar, cocoa and salt in a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Stir to mix and break up any lumps of cocoa powder.
2. Add the corn syrup, milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Stop stirring; cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid for about a minute to steam off any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Watch closely so the fudge does not boil over.
3. Uncover and continue to cook (without stirring), swabbing down the sides of the pan from time to time with a pastry brush dipped in water, until the temperature reaches the soft-ball stage. Use a candy thermometer or the old-fashioned method of dropping a bit of the hot candy into a cup of cold water every so often. When it forms a cohesive puddle on the bottom of the cup and can be formed into a ball that flattens when lifted out of the water, that’s “soft-ball” stage.) immediately swab down the sides of the pan. Pour (do not scrape) the fudge onto a slab of marble or a large platter or into a flat baking dish.
4. Heat the lemon zest, juice and vanilla to boiling and pour over the hot candy.
5. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Let the mixture cool to room temperature without disturbing it.
6. Stir the fudge with a spatula or plastic scraper until it becomes thick and starts to lose its gloss.
7. Add the chopped nuts just as the fudge becomes too stiff to stir.
8. Spread the fudge onto a buttered plate or sheet of plastic wrap. After a few minutes, it will solidify and you can wrap and store it for several days.

Yields 2⅛ pounds

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