The problem with penuche

I have a problem with penuche, aside from its fairly ridiculous pronunciation (puhn-OO-chee).

You wouldn't think I'd have a problem with the stuff. My favorite type of candies are See's Bordeaux (milk chocolate, please), with have a brown sugar buttercream filling. You'd think brown sugar fudge would be pretty much perfection for me. Jump to recipe.

I mean, it's made with ingredients that I have on hand all the time: milk (or cream), white sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla.

You get to play chef with your candy thermometer that broke in the move instant read meat thermometer. Just look at the bubbling goodness!

And then just when it gets sticky (well, to the soft ball stage, 236 - 240 F), you pull it from the heat, throw in butter and vanilla and walk away.

When you get back, you beat it within an inch of its life.

Uh . . .yeah. Once it gets to this amazing phase, side note: that's a bad time to stop stirring and pick up the camera. It's done, but it's solidifying by the second.

No matter, as long as it's warm, you can still press it into the buttered pan:

Oh, did I say there was a problem with penuche? Oh yeah.
 So my problem with penuche is that I ate the whole thing.

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 12th Ed.
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 c low fat milk (you can also use cream or half-and-half)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used um . . . 1 "spill" vanilla. Whoops! Wayward!)
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans, walnuts or cashews (optional)
 1. Line a loaf pan with foil by shaping the foil on the outside of the pan first, then molding it to the interior. Butter the foil.

2. Butter the sides of a 2 quart saucepan. In the saucepan, add the sugars and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils. Grab your instant read thermometer. Reduce heat, continuing to boil steadily but not hard, stirring frequently, until you reach the soft ball stage (236 - 240 F). You may have to adjust the heat to maintain the boil.

3. Remove from heat but leave the thermometer in. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Let sit until thermometer registers about 115. (Original recipe says 110, but this seemed to be just a little late to come back to the party, IMO.)

4. Remove thermometer. Beat mixture within an inch of its life, first to mix in the melted butter, then to incorporate air. (If using nuts, add them when the mixture begins to thicken.) When the mixture is lighter and loses its gloss, it's ready (original recipe says this takes about 10 minutes; seemed like less for me).

5. Spread penuche into prepared pan. Score. When firm and cooled, lift out of pan using the foil and cut into squares. Store tightly covered for up to 1 week . . . or, like me, eat it within a couple hours.

Makes 32 1"x1" squares.

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