There is nothing about fudge that doesn’t feel sweet. Obvs, the flavor, definitely sweet, but also the old-fashioned nature of the candy, and the fact that I associate it with being on vacation. Fudge doesn’t cross my path all that often unless I’m in a place where souvenirs are being sold, and there are ice cream shops on every block.
And while chocolate fudge is the uber classic, in all of its variations, there are room for other types of fudge as well. And so when I started thinking about fudge, I took a bit of a detour.
Brown Sugar Fudge: Sometimes brown sugar fudge is called penuche, and it’s a lovely sweet alternative to traditional chocolate fudge.Tweet This
Brown Sugar Fudge
Don’t be tempted to sub in all white sugar for the brown sugar in this recipe. In some making recipes you can swap around brown and white sugar, but in brown sugar fudge you need the molasses in the brown sugar to add to the caramelization and the deep more rounded flavor.
Nuts in Penuche
Nuts or no nuts? Up to you! I’m allergic, so no nuts for me, but you can add chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans, which are popular down south in brown sugar fudge, or penuche.
Sometimes brown sugar fudge is called penuche. Penuche is a wonderfully old-fashioned word, a candy popular in New England mostly, and some areas down south. You might also find this type of fudge/candy called brown sugar candy, creamy praline fudge (in the South).
The cooks and folks in the South do love everything praline-like, which is basically caramelized sugar and nuts together. If you have ever been to Savannah you will see praline stores lined up practically every other building in certain touristy areas.
When not completely cooled and beaten well, it can also be used as a frosting for a cake. I’m thinking it would be amazing on a carrot cake, and it will be coming down the pike, believe you me (what does that even mean anyway?).
What is the Soft-Ball Stage in Making Candy?
Soft-ball stage refers to a narrow temperature range used when cooking sugar syrups, specifically between 235°F and 245°F. This is most easily and accurately measured with a candy thermometer, BUT if you don’t have a candy thermometer you can still determine when this temperature range has been reached.
Fill a small bowl with very cold water. Drop a very small spoonful of the hot syrup into the water. Stick your fingers into the water and gather the cooled syrup into a ball. If it has reached soft-ball stage, the syrup should easily hold its ball shape, though it should squish when removed from the water.
Back in the Day Brown Sugar Fudge
This recipe hails from talented cooks and bakers Cheryl Day and Griffith Day, the loveliest couple who own Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, GA. They have written two cookbooks, Back in the Day Bakery and Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love, and both books are filled with the kind of recipes that make you feel nostalgic and hungry all at the same time, especially if you grew up anywhere in the South. The name of their bakery is hardly an accident.
Other Old-Fashioned Dessert Recipes:
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Brown Sugar Fudge
- 2 cups light or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup, and salt and heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve e the sugar. Insert a candy thermometer and cook, stirring, occasionally, until the mixture reaches 238°F (this is known as the soft ball stage: see Note), which will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful that the mixture doesn’t boil up and over the sides over the pan, a little bubbling is fine.
- Add the butter and stir until melted and blended in, then remove the pan from the heat and let it stand without stirring at all until the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, about 120°F).
- Beat in the vanilla until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Fold in the nuts, if using. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and let cool to room temperature. If your kitchen is quite warm, you might want to let it cool in the fridge.
- Once the fudge has set, cut it into 1-inch pieces with a thin sharp knife. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or in the fridge if it’s not all that cool in your kitchen. Let come to room temp just before serving.
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