Why I Love This Recipe
For anyone who is not familiar with this New England confection, Penuche fudge attempts to recreate the flavor of the Mexican Panocha or Panela (being the pressed Raw Sugar “cones”)
This form of semi-refined sugar is similar to "jaggery" in India (which is derived from Palm sap instead of Cane). It's high in natural molasses, thus Brown Sugar is a key ingredient for Penuche Fudge in place of the White Granulated Sugar normally used to make chocolate fudge.
Sadly it seems that a lot of recipes flying around the net now days contain very little Brown Sugar, being comprised primarily of Confectioners’ Sugar. These are often called “No-Cook alternatives”… I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Penuche fudge doesn’t really work like that… I am not trying to be a fudge snob or anything, but the flavor of Penuche requires Brown Sugar and cooking to softball, or it ends up being more of a Vanilla Fudge than anything else… You just can’t "fudge" penuche... ;) Har dee har har
Ingredients You'll Need
2 cups Light Brown Sugar
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup Light Whipping Cream
3 TB Unsalted butter
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tsp Real Mexican or Bourbon Vanilla Extract (Tahitian is too Floral)
1 cup chopped Pecans
Combine Sugars, Cream, Butter and Salt in a stainless or copper sauce pan (DO NOT USE a NON-STICK Pan)
Place over LOW heat and stir until the mixture begins to boil, then remove spoon and add thermometer.
Cook until the syrup reaches 236 degrees (Soft ball)
Meanwhile - Line your 8x8 pan with waxed paper.
Chop the pecans and set them aside for now.
Remove the syrup from heat and let it set until it cools to 110 degrees.
Pour mixture into a mixing bowl; beat mixture on low speed until the luster is gone and penuche has a matte finish (this can take quite awhile... 15-20 minutes, depending)
Once it reaches a matte finish... Quickly fold in the vanilla and pecans, then press into your wax paper lined 8x8 pan.
To add a little shine to the top, you can brush the surface lightly with more light cream.
If you do not possess a candy thermometer, you can do this the old fashioned way (the way my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother did it)
Place a bowl of cold water near the stove, check the sugar syrup by dropping a small amount into the cold water.
Let is cool slightly, then fish it out, pressing lightly with your fingers... Soft ball will give when squeezed.
And when set down on the counter, it will hold it's shape for a few seconds before slowly spreading.
Now I must depart for I have a cup of coffee waiting for me... And I get to lick the afore mentioned beater... ;)