Monday, December 1, 2008

Penuche Fudge

Penuche is a non-chocolate fudge, but it isn’t maple fudge either. The only “real” flavoring added is vanilla, but don’t mistake it for a vanilla fudge. Its delectable taste is due to the sugar, and when caramelized properly, it is incredible! A good penuche has nuts … usually pecans or walnuts … otherwise it’s just too sugary.

Since most folk out here in MO haven’t heard of it, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it may, along with ZaRex, Autocrat Coffee Syrup, and Furtado’s Chourico, be mostly a New England thing.

It is very difficult to make … if cooked too long it’s hard as a brick and very brittle, so it basically shatters when cut into. Nam is the only one in the family who can make a perfect batch (and even she's had her fair share of “bad” batches, although there’s really no such thing as a bad batch of penuche), but Mike’s (pictured here) is a very close second. Notice the color? Mmmm. This one is from Christmas ’07. The recipe here isn’t Nam's (you're not allowed to have that), but it should do for beginners (a candy thermometer is helpful, but not necessarily required):


2 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
1 C heavy cream
2 T light corn syrup
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans


Butter an 8x8 inch square dish.
In medium saucepan combine sugars, cream, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat.
Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that does not dissipate and does not bead when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface.
Remove from heat and let cool without stirring until bottom of pan is lukewarm.
Pour in vanilla and beat until creamy.
Stir in nuts.
Pour into 8x8 pan.
Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

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