Penuche, aka Brown Sugar Fudge…12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Penuche.  Fun word to say, yes?  And, delicious to eat, too!  What is penuche, you wonder?  Well, you may know it as brown sugar candy or brown sugar fudge.  Actually, it is my favorite candy, next to pralines, to which it is very similar.  The recipe is easy peasy, made with ingredients you likely have in the pantry and refrigerator.  You don’t have to have a candy thermometer, but it is quite helpful when trying to decide if you’ve reached the critical soft ball stage
I tried a slightly different recipe last night.  My tried and true recipe is in one of my Louisiana cookbooks, and it has gone missing.  So, the search began, and I settled upon this recipe because it seemed similar.  I did make a change, as I noted in the ingredients, but all in all, this is some delicious fudge!  The taste is amazing, and as usual, I went overboad with the nuts, because, well, we like nuts.  They are optional, though, so leave the out if you are not a fan. 
Penuche
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (I used 1 cup)
  • 1-2 cups toasted and chopped pecans (walnuts, peanuts, etc)
Directions
Butter an 8×8 (thick) or 7×11(thin) inch pan; line with parchment paper for easy removal.

Toast pecans for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven; coarsely chop and set aside.

Combine butter, brown sugar, half-n-half, and salt in a saucepan.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until mixture comes to a boil.
Insert candy thermometer, and continue to stir occasionally, cooking until soft ball stage (240 degrees).
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
Pour into a metal bowl (plastic will melt) and add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, beating with an electric mixer, until mixture reaches a thick, fudge-like consistency; stir in nuts.
Pour (scrape) into prepared pan.
If necessary, wet hands to pat mixture into pan.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into pieces. 
Linking today’s post to the following terrific blogs!
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