Old Fashioned Penuche Fudge Recipe (2024)

This old fashioned penuche fudge recipe has been a family favorite for over 50 years. It's a traditional fudge recipe, made with brown sugar and heavy cream, and has an amazing flavor a little bit like caramel, and a lot like southern pralines.

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It's the first Monday of the month, and that means it's time for the Taste Creations Blog Hop. This month we're making Christmas candies, and I knew it was time to share my family's favorite penuche fudge recipe.

What is Penuche?

Penuche is a soft, fudge-like candy made with a traditional fudge-making technique. It is made with brown sugar, cream, salt, butter, vanilla, and clear Karo syrup (that's my pastry-chef mother's addition to the classic recipe). The flavor comes from the caramelized brown sugar (white sugar is never used in penuche) and vanilla.The word penuche comes from the Italianpanucci. This candyis also sometimes spelled penoche. Penuche can be eaten as a candy, or used as penuche frosting on a sheet cake. In the southern United States, it is sometimes called Brown Sugar Fudge Candy or Creamy Praline Fudge.

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How to Make Old Fashioned Penuche Fudge

Candy making is a precise endeavor, and it's worth it to have the right equipment to make your job easier. Before we jump into the penuche recipe, I'm going to share a few items that I think make fudge-making (or any candy-making) a LOT easier.

Helpful Special Equipment for Making Fudge:

  • Candy Thermometer: It is critical to cook candy recipes to the precise correct temperature, and a candy thermometer is extremely helpful in getting this right. There are some old-fashioned ways to estimate if the mixture is at the right temperature, but it's SO much easier just knowing that you've reached the right stage when using a candy thermometer.
  • A Square Silicone Cake Pan: This is my secret weapon for making homemade fudge and caramels. The candies--no matter how sticky--pop right out! No lining the tray with wax paper or parchment paper! No buttering pans! It makes candy-making so much easier.

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Ingredients for Penuche Fudge Recipe

  • 4 cups of packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream (can also use half-and-half)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces, or half a stick)
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

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First, combine the light-brown sugar, cream, salt, and Karo syrup.

Substitutions that Work in this PenucheRecipe:

  • You can use all cream (like I did), or half-and-half, or one cup milk (whole milk) and one cup of cream.
  • you can use salted butter instead of unsalted butter
  • you can use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar (the color will be a little darker, and the flavor a little more intense).
  • DO NOT USE margarine instead of butter. The extra water content in the margarine will interfere with the fudge setting.

Why use Corn Syrup in a Fudge Recipe?

Original, old-fashionedfudge recipes don't use corn syrup, but if you use two different sugars with differing intrinsic crystal structures (like the granulated sugar and the corn syrup do),crystallizationis inhibited. In other words, when you combine sugars, the fudge is much less prone to sugaring, which is when sugar crystals form and the candy has a gritty mouth-feel. You want your fudge to be creamy and smooth. The addition of just a little bit of Karo syrup acts as aninterfering agent. Thelong chains of glucose molecules in corn syrup help to prevent thesucrose molecules in the brown sugar from re-forming (which is what sugar crystals want to do!). You don't have to use corn syrup in your fudge recipes, but using it will make the fudge turn out better moreconsistently.

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Stir these ingredients together until the sugar crystals dissolve.

Use a damp, clean kitchen cloth or a pastry brush to clean the sides of the pot of any residual sugar crystals. If you leave any sugar crystals on the side of the pot, it can act as a seed crystal, setting off a chain reaction and making your fudge grainy and sugared.

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Heat the sugar mixture in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. DO NOT STIR the mixture at all at this stage! If any sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, use a pastry brush and water to wash it away. As the temperature rises, the bubbles will do all the stirring you need. But if you stir the mixture at this stage, you will create sugar crystals, and you'll end up with a grainy, gritty fudge.

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Cook without stirring until the mixture reaches the proper temperature: soft ball stage, or 235 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat, and stir in the four tablespoons butter and vanilla, just until combined.

Let it cool until it reaches between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Then beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and loses its glossiness.

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Pour mixture into your silicone pan or prepared pan, and let it set. It takes about three hours for fudge to set at room temperature.

Can Fudge be Set in the Fridge or Freezer?

Yes, you can speed up the fudge setting process by placing the fudge in either the refrigerator or the freezer. It will set in about 2 hours in the fridge, and in about one hour in the freezer.

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After the fudge has set, remove the candy from the pan. If you're using that magical silicone pan, it's as easy as turning it over on a cutting board! (I really can't emphasize how much I love using silicone pans for candy-making.). Cut into bite-sized pieces.

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The fudge is rich and delicious, so cut into pretty small pieces, about one inch square.

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How to Store Penuche Fudge

You have several options for storing your homemade fudge:

  • You can store fudgeat room temperature for up to three weeks. Wrap in waxed paper, or even let it sit out on a Christmas cookie tray. If the fudge sits out uncovered, the outer shell will dry out a bit, but it will remain smooth and creamy when you bite in to it.
  • You can freeze fudge if you want to use it past the three week mark. Wrap the slab of fudge in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to three months.
  • DO NOT STORE IN THE FRIDGE! Fudge dries out and gets very crumbly when stored in the refrigerator. For best results, either store at room temperature or the freezer.

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I think you'll love this amazing homemade fudge, with its golden color, caramel flavors, and hint of vanilla, but if you want other fudge recipes, I'm happy to oblige:

Printable Old Fashioned Penuche Fudge Recipe

Want a one page, printable, PDF version of this Penuche fudge recipe? Click on the image below to print directly or download this recipe to your device.

Other Homemade Candy Recipes from the Taste Creations Blog Hop

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Be sure to check out the other delicious homemade candy recipes from my fellow bloggers in the Taste Creations Blog Hop:

Our Good Life: Quick and Easy Gingerbread Fudge

Mom Home Guide: Homemade Peanut Brittle

Breads and Sweets: Homemade Baileys Filled Chocolates

Other Homemade Candy Recipes You Might Like:

Old Fashioned Penuche Fudge Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between fudge and penuche? ›

What sets penuche apart from other fudge is the brown sugar -- most fudge is made with white sugar. The brown sugar lends butterscotch and maple tones to this New England favorite, which may be enhanced by adding actual maple syrup in some cases.

Why is my penuche grainy? ›

Fudge must be stirred, and then not stirred, at specific times. If you stir at the wrong stage you will get grainy lumpy fudge which is worse than having no fudge at all. Hot sugar is napalm.

Is penuche fudge Italian? ›

Penuche (/pəˈnutʃi/, from Italian: panucci) is a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, using no flavorings except for vanilla.

What does penuche mean in English? ›

pə-ˈnō-chə : fudge made usually of brown sugar, butter, cream or milk, and nuts.

Why is it called penuche? ›

Some folks say that the name originates from a Mexican Spanish word for sugar, while others argue the fudge is named after a 1920s Boston Bruins player, Mark Penuche. Penuche stands apart from its fudge relatives mainly because it is based on brown rather than white sugar, offering a unique caramel flavor.

What is the secret to non-grainy fudge? ›

A lot of big crystals in fudge makes it grainy. By letting the fudge cool without stirring, you avoid creating seed crystals.

What does penuche fudge taste like? ›

Penuche Standard Texture

It should have a rich caramel flavor, especially if they are cooked (not the "instant" types of fudge). The texture is changed up when nuts are used. When cutting into the candy, having large pieces of the nuts gives it both a visual and taste enhancement.

Where is the best fudge in the world? ›

Fudge on Mackinac Island Today

Sampling Mackinac Island fudge remains one of the favorite activities of visitors, with chocolate being the most popular (although when President Gerald R. Ford came to Mackinac Island in 1975 he opted for vanilla pecan.)

What's the difference between Russian fudge and regular fudge? ›

Golden syrup – is what makes this recipe Russian fudge-style! The added golden syrup gives that extra sweetness and silky texture. Vanilla extract – to give the taste of vanilla to the fudge.

What do Italians call brown sugar? ›

In Italian, you can find it under the name zucchero muscovado or muscobado– I don't know what the spelling difference is due to.

What is sugar called in Germany? ›

sugar no pl (sweetener):

Zucker m.

What is fudge in American slang? ›

When fudge is a verb, it means to avoid straightforwardly answering a question or addressing a subject: "Just answer my question and don't fudge the issue!" Fudge is an American word from college slang meaning "a made-up story."

Is fudge a Michigan thing? ›

By most accounts, the first batch of fudge was concocted in Baltimore in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, fudge-making arrived on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, which today has a legitimate claim as the modern day fudge capital.

Why is Michigan known for fudge? ›

As Mackinac Island evolved from a center of fur trade into a summer resort destination, Victorian-era vacationers began to identify the island with sweets. At first, the most common candy was maple sugar harvested by Native Americans. Other treats, including fudge, soon followed.

What do Americans call fudge? ›

fudge in American English

a soft candy made of butter, milk, sugar, and chocolate or other flavoring, etc.

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