Penuche is a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, and is simply flavored with vanilla. It's lighter in color than typical fudge, and has a flavor reminiscent of caramel—delicious! When preparing, use a reliable candy thermometer to ensure the best results.
Cooking tip: to test for soft ball stage (when it is ready to be set), drop a small amount of syrup dropped into chilled water. It is ready when it forms a ball, but is soft enough to flatten a bit when picked up with fingers (234° to 240° on a candy thermometer).
- 2 pounds light brown sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Gather the ingredients.
In a medium saucepan, mix brown sugar, milk, butter, corn syrup if using, and salt. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Cook without stirring until soft ball stage is reached* or to 236 F to 238 F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm (about 120° F).
Add vanilla. Beat until thick and no longer glossy. If using a heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle, don't add the pecans until the last step. Make sure to watch it carefully.
As soon as the mixture loses its glossiness and begins to hold its shape a bit, stir in pecans and spread in the pan. Pour into a buttered 9-inch square pan or an 11x7-inch pan. When firm, cut into squares.