I have an absolute love-affair with this candy. Good thing I’m too lazy to make it more frequently than every blue moon. On rare occasion I will bestir myself to make it in the frosting form to put on a yellow cake from scratch.
In fact, I had planned to use the same recipe I usually use for the frosting and picked up more brown sugar for the purpose. When I pulled out the recipe card yesterday I realized that I didn’t have evaporated milk in the pantry. Ugh. I pulled out my trusty New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and hunted it up.
Note that “New” is part of the title and not in any way an accurate description of the book. I think this was a wedding present 19 years ago. If any family members are looking for an idea for Christmas, I can assure you that a hard-back, spiral-bound version would go over well.
But I digress.
Here is the fudge before the locust hoards descended:
Here is the recipe, with a few annotations:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light cream (all I had was heavy cream and it turned out fine)
1/3 cup milk
2 T margarine or butter (ahem, BUTTER)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (in a kinder world I would have children who loved walnuts in fudge and brownies, but alas…)
Line an 8 x 8 x 2 or a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with foil; extend foil over edges. Butter foil; set aside. Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. (I forgot and it turned out fine, but I was also using a non-stick pot.)
Combine sugars, cream, and milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until boiling. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pot. Cook and stir over medium-LOW heat to 236•, soft-ball stage (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla but do not stir. Cool, without stirring (warn “helpful” members of your household to leave the pot alone), to 110• (about an hour).
Remove thermometer. Beat mixture vigorously (I used a wooden spoon) until penuche just begins to thicken; add nuts. Continue beating until penuche becomes very thick and loses its gloss (10 minutes or so, but your arm will be hurting such that time will have lost all meaning).
Note: Be aware that it’s going to continue to look like thick pancake syrup for the longed time and you’re going to start thinking it won’t set. It thickens and starts crystallizing all at once, very suddenly. Don’t stir much past that point or you’re going to have penuche that has set firmly in the pot.
Pour into pan and spread to corners. Cool, cut when set. (You can lift it out of the pan with the foil for ease of cutting.)
Cut really small squares because this stuff is solid sugar. I doubled the recipe because I always at least double everything in this house.
Enjoy with a glass of milk!