Buttery Rich Penuche Fudge Recipe

Buttery Rich Penuche Fudge Recipe with Nuts on http://www.theculinarylife.com
What is it about a soft chunk of penuche fudge that captivates the taste buds? Sure, it’s sugary-sweet, and that means it will always be popular on some level; but there’s just something about a freshly-made penuche fudge recipe that makes me curl my toes and bite my lip.

I’m a huge fudge fan, so maybe it was destined to be love at first bite. I love my chocolate straight-up and unfettered by any sort of distracting cake or cookie – at Christmas, I’m always found camped out in front of the fudge plate, making short work of my grandma’s family recipe. After a particularly traumatic pumpkin fudge incident, I limited myself to chocolate fudge and didn’t pay much attention to anything but the richest, deepest, darkest varieties as they crosses my culinary path. Blonde fudge? Eh. Caramel fudge? Nah. Peanut butter fudge? Blah.

Penuche? What’s that?

Some of you might remember how I spent the first part of this year in rural Massachusetts, sequestered in Cape Cod during a time of year that can only be described as, “really &#*%*@% cold.” When you’re locked away in self-imposed solitude and the temperature dips down to below 0 degrees, you start reaching for anything within arm’s reach that’s even remotely construed as comforting. As luck would have it, there was single, solitary coffee shop open in a nearby town, where I’d spend as many waking hours as possible. Nevermind that I had to sit out on the highway in the frigid cold, a veritable Steph-sical, waiting for the Flex Bus to Orleans. I was on my way to the Hot Chocolate Sparrow.

Besides being a lovely little coffee house, the Chocolate Sparrow (locals drop the “hot” in the name, for brevity’s sake, I’m sure) was a full-service diabetic coma factory. Besides a small offering of soups and sandwiches, the place had a insanely diverse selection of sweets. Cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream, waffles, you name it. And, they had an old-fashioned candy counter that would make Baby Jesus cry from cavity-induced agony.

It was here that I had my first taste of penuche. Having exhausted the sample tray of all traces of chocolate, I poked glumly at the caramel-colored cubes left behind. “I’m not cutting up anymore chocolate until either you or the penuche samples are gone,” the counter lady half joked. “Go on, live a little.” She chortled to herself behind her book, amused by a now long-running inside joke we shared about me ransacking the sample tray a few times a week.

After a few minutes of staring and unsuccessfully manifesting a full plate of chocolate fudge, I grabbed one of the penuche blocks and stuck it in my mouth. At first I was underwhelmed, but as the buttery, brown sugary sweetness swept across my tongue, I took notice. The candy was soft and tender, with a notable caramel flavor, and the the addition of toasted pecans, I was in sugar-friend heaven. I bought two pounds and completely decimated my sugar limitation for the day.

Penuche fudge recipes are easy to make, though any candy-making endeavor requires a little savvy for success. If you’re at all familiar with candy-making, you’ll find this a dream to throw together and enjoy within a few hours. If you’ve not been indoctrinated into the Society of Candy-Making Zealots ™, never fear – besides a pot and a baking dish, the only equipment you’ll need is a candy thermometer.

A note on recipes: The original recipe on this site gave some folks a little trouble, for unknown reasons – me and my team of testers never could reproduce the problem of the fudge not setting. But after some discussion with other candy mavens, I added a recipe below that involves the shock/seed/stir method. You’ll find the first recipe below, and in case you preferred the original recipe, it’s at the bottom of the page.

Buttery Rich Penuche Fudge Recipe with Nuts on http://www.theculinarylife.com

4.7 from 9 reviews
Buttery Rich Penuche Fudge Recipe - Shock/Seed/Stir Method
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This perfect penuche fudge recipe is buttery, creamy, and sweet. Walnuts and brown sugar add a little nutty crunch to the rich caramelly flavor. Delicious. Yield: 1 8×8-inch pan of penuche. Note: I changed this recipe to use the shock > seed > stir method of fudge making because some folks were having problems with fudge that wouldn't set. It's a common problem, but this version will guarantee easier success! If you liked the original recipe, you can find it below.
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup evaporated milk, heavy cream, or half & half
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large bowl of ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted, finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Line a 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving 2-inches overhang on two opposing sides. Make sure to fold the paper into the corners of the pan.
  2. In a heavy saucepan over medium-low flame, heat brown sugar, white sugar, corn syrup, milk, butter, and salt to 236°F (113°C) while stirring occasionally. This should take 20-25 minutes.
  3. While the penuche fudge is cooking, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice to create a water bath. You can also just stop your sink and fill that with ice and water.
  4. Immediately pour penuche into the bowl of a stand mixer and set the paddle beater into the fudge, so that it’s ready to connect to the mixer when it’s ready. Set bowl into ice water and add vanilla extract. Do not stir after adding vanilla. Allow to cool until the penuche is lukewarm, about 110 degrees, which should take about ten minutes.
  5. Place the bowl into the stand mixer and beat on low until the fudge begins to thicken, lighten in color, and lose its shine. Add nuts and beat just a few times until the nuts are disbursed evenly into the penuche. Turn off the mixer.
  6. Using a spatula greased with butter, spread penuche fudge into lined pan, smoothing out the top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting. If refrigerated, penuche will keep in a sealed container for up to a week. For maximum freshness, don’t cut until ready to serve.

And the original recipe:
4.7 from 9 reviews
Buttery Rich Penuche Fudge Recipe - Original Method
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The original penuche fudge recipe I had on my site.
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk, half & half, or evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted, finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Line a 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving 2-inches overhang on two opposing sides. Make sure to fold the paper into the corners of the pan.
  2. In a heavy saucepan over medium-low flame, heat brown sugar, white sugar, milk, butter, and salt to 236°F (113°C) while stirring constantly. This should take 20-25 minutes.
  3. Immediately pour penuche into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add vanilla extract. Beat on medium for 4 minutes, until fudge is thick and smooth. Lower speed to low and add chopped nuts. Beat just until nuts are dispersed evenly.
  4. Using a spatula greased with butter, spread penuche fudge into lined pan, smoothing out the top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting. If refrigerated, penuche will keep in a sealed container for up to a week. For maximum freshness, don’t cut until ready to serve.

 
 

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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Kerry says

    penuche is a bit (okay, a lot) too sugary for my taste — but I enjoyed learning about the Chocolate Sparrow, and glad to hear they are open in winter.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Margarita, how was the original Ptown penuche you had? Was it really, really sweet? How was the texture?

  2. Mendi says

    I had trouble getting the recipe to set up. On my third try I added a few tablespoons of molasses and followed the traditional fudge method of shocking/seeding/cooling/stirring. It made a beautiful creamy, rich candy with amazing flavor. Thank you for a great recipe!

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Good call! I’d love to hear what steps you took, if you’re willing to share. I can update the post with an alternate method.

        • Michelle McDonald says

          Aaannnd….Gorgeous, move over Russian Fudge, Penuche is penultimate! I let it cool to 43F before beating, and let my poor handheld electric beater take the hit (so wish I hadn’t given my bench top mixer away!). Fantastic, turned out like your second photo xx

  3. Cocoabrioche says

    just starting this for Christmas – but wondered, since this is culinary, if you could give weight of ingredients? I’ll multiply and translate, using equivalents from Flo Braker

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Not really sure what you mean – I can try to provide weights, but what will you be translating in that case?

  4. The Hungry Hoarder says

    I will be making this soon. Growing up in Rhode Island, this was the type of fudge we ate.

  5. Maggie says

    This recipe is easy (tastes great too), but it came out sugary. I researched why this may happen and found that after heating to 236 degrees, it said to let cool to 110 deg. then transfer to bowl and beat it. Stirring too soon causes it to crystalize and lose its creaminess.

  6. Stephanie Stiavetti says

    Thanks for this. It’s so weird – I don’t have this problem at all. And, for some people the fudge actually turns out too runny. I’m going to try making it with this method you’ve suggested, and see how it turns out!

  7. Cathy Hill says

    Hi there,
    A friend of mine usually makes this for me at Christmas. Wanted to whip up a batch this weekend and found your recipe, thank you. Here in New Mexico, we use pinons or pine nuts, which adds a very different flavor than pecans….give it a try for a taste of the Southwest.

  8. Helen Snook says

    This is perfect. I thought it was going to be runny, but it set up so well. I did pour it immediately into my stand mixer and beat it right away for four minutes. I didn’t have whole milk or half and half, so I used regular evaporated milk (not skim). My husband and I agree – best penuche we’ve ever had!

  9. Susan M. from Mass says

    Hi, Should I use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar? Is either one ok? What have people had the best luck with?

    Thanks!

  10. Maggie says

    As I was sitting at my desk eating some Penuche Fudge from the Chocolate Sparrow from my recent trip to Cape Cod, I was thinking that I should look up the recipe and maybe make my own fudge and low and behold your recipe and article appeared. Funny little coincidence huh. Ever beach we ever went to, my mom always inquired about penuche fudge and no one had ever heard of it until I went to Cape Cod and there it was. Wow.

  11. Carol says

    Tried for very first time. It won’t set. It’s been 3 hours and still loose. Can I do anything with this mixture to make it harden?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Hi Carol, how long did you beat it for? Did it come up to 236 degrees? How long was there before it came to temp and when you beat it?

  12. cindy says

    OMG! This is surreal and crazy. I was in Orleans this weekend for Thanksgiving. We have family in Orleans and Harwich and have been there many times, but not in the cool months. Everyone kept talking about the Chocolate Sparrow, so we took the kids. I tried the Penuche Fudge and just googled “penuche fudge recipe” and found your post. Fate wants me to make your recipe! Thanks!!

  13. Janet says

    About penuche — I haven’t made it yet but was delighted to find your recipe. All the others call for hand-beating and that never works for me. I grew up with my grandmother AND Mother beating fudge and penuche by hand — I tried it and just couldn’t so was hoping to find a recipe using a mixer and voila! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  14. Janet says

    I forgot a question — I’m never sure what to use when a recipe calls for “heavy” cream (as some recipes for penuche require). I’m wondering if instead of half and half or whole milk, I could use whipping cream? Or would that mess it up? And is whipping cream the same as “heavy” cream?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Hello, Janet! Heavy cream and whipping cream are the same thing. :) You should be able to use it for a much richer fudge. Let me know how it goes!

  15. Marisue says

    LOVE the chocolate sparrow! We visit the one in Wellfleet every summer, when we’re down at our cottage in Truro. They do have the best penuche and other fudge we’ve ever tasted! Truly a treat to go there!

  16. Brie says

    Thank you for the recipe! I used the original one as I did not want to add corn syrup. I mixed it by hand so that I could keep a closer eye on it as well. Worked perfect! Once the mixture is brought to a boil, you actually don’t need to stir it at all. In fact, I believe candy makers would insist that you don’t touch it once it’s boiling or else it can re-crystalize. I just left it alone and watched the candy thermometer VERY carefully.
    Anyway this recipe tasted perfect, thanks so much!

  17. Pamela Murray says

    I have made Fudges for 20 years … I even had a home Fudge business and a Flickr site where I posted almost forty different types of Fudge. I have a sister in law who Married Penuche Fudge instead of a man. After making this recipe … She will divorce her previus love and marry this recipe. Just saying, this is a home wrecking Penuche. WORTH, Oh yes , worth the time. Thank You for making me look like a genius. You learn something every day. Love!

  18. Ellen McGuffie says

    Two things I think you left out: the weather can prevent fudge from setting. I’ve often wondered if that doesn’t matter anymore, now that most people have air conditioning, but I do not know the answer to that. I DO know that high humidity or rain can definitely interfere with candy making. Does air conditioning fix that? Don’t know. But then, I do not have air conditioning. I grew up hearing that one should never, never try to make candy on a rainy day.

    The other thing is the importance of washing the crystals off the side of the pan and keeping them out of the penuche. Most recipes do include that. My Joy of Cooking says, once the mixture is boiling, to cover it and let it boil, for one to two minutes, so that the steam will wash the sugar down from the sides of the pan. Then, take the top off, brush sugar crystals off sides of pan with damp pastry brush, and stop stirring (to keep from introducing crystals into mixture). One crystal can set off the whole batch into crystalizing, just like making rock candy. This is key for a creamy batch of fudge, at least in my experience.

    FInally, I just noticed that in your first recipe you said to beat for 4 minutes rather than to beat until shine starts to go. I never manage to get any fudge off the fire at precisely the same stage,, and so the amount of beating it needs is never precisely the same, either. But when the shine starts to go, you know it’s ready.

    Penuche fudge is my favorite, with pecans. And yours is very scrumptious looking!

    Ellen

Trackbacks

  1. […] If you haven’t tried this yummy treat, here is a great recipe that I tried recently which comes from The Culinary Life website. […]

  2. […] idea for a penuche fudge sauce for topping ice cream came to me when I was futzing with my original perfect penuche fudge recipe. Ok, maybe came to me is the wrong term. More like I added way too much milk, butter, and salt to […]