This buttery melt-in-your-mouth delicious old-fashioned Brown Sugar Fudge has the warm flavor of caramel and reminds me of a fabulous New Orleans praline.
It’s perfect on a Christmas dessert tray or included in a cookie exchange. You’ll want to keep this recipe handy, as gift giving season approaches.
This isn’t your typical rich chocolaty fudge either. There’s no chocolate to be found in this fairly easy recipe.
And, the texture of this sweet confection is so velvety and amazing; you may not be able to stop eating it.
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This creamy brown sugar fudge is also called penuche (“puh-noo-chee”). Which is derived from panocha, a Mexican raw sugar.
This is a recipe I found years ago (back in 2005 to be exact) when I was doing some testing of candy recipes, and learning all I could about how to make candy.
I think candy making is really my favorite. More than baking cookies or cakes, I truly love making candy.
And, I think it’s so special when you make candy for people. It’s so unusual that people simply love it.
So, keep it in mind for those holiday cookie and gift exchanges. This recipe is fairly easy and will be a big hit!
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I love having a candy thermometer for making all kinds of fudge and candy.
You can also make lemon curd and preserves more easily when using a candy thermometer.
Yes, you can make this fudge without a candy thermometer. It wouldn’t be my recommendation.
But, if you simply can’t buy a candy thermometer, here’s how you can test the fudge for the right temperature.
Take a teaspoon of the cooked fudge mixture, and drop it into a small bowl of cold water. If it holds a soft ball when pressed between your fingers, it has reached the correct temperature.
Want more tips and tricks about making fudge?
I have a great post chock full of information to get you the perfect fudge! Read more here on my Mocha Fudge Recipe.
Other recipes to use your candy thermometer
I use the candy thermometer fairly regularly. It makes things nice and easy to measure. Savory recipes to sweet recipes. Here are some of my recipes that use the kitchen tool: Chocolate S’more Pie, Coconut Gumdrops, Zucchini Jam, Caramel Ice Cream with Beer Brittle, and Eggnog Cake.
Do I need to use evaporated milk?
Yes, the evaporated milk helps this recipe to cook properly.
Please do not substitute regular milk in this candy.
Evaporated milk has been cooked to reduce the water content of the milk.
It’s called the cooking milk for this very reason: It’s more stable than regular milk, and it can used for cooking at high temperatures, because it will not curdle like regular milk will.
Also, be sure you do not confuse evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.
Sweetened condensed milk is sugary sweet and is not what you want for this recipe.
Can I add nuts to this recipe?
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Yes, of course you can.
I prefer my fudge to be smooth throughout, and contain no nuts.
But, if you love the crunchy chunky addition that nuts bring to the confection, by all means, please feel free to add them.
You’ll want ¾ cup of nuts. I’d recommend walnuts, pecans, or salted peanuts for this fudge.
Simply toast the nuts by placing them on a flat baking sheet (I love those air insulted ones), and bake in a 350° F oven for about 10 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown.
Allow the nuts to cool, and chop them coarsely. Stir the nuts into the fudge before spreading it into the pan.
What kind of brown sugar can I use?
This recipe is traditionally made with light brown sugar, so that’s what I recommend for this.
However, I have heard from readers that half light and half dark brown sugar has worked well for them.
Also, I’m typically a fan of dark brown sugar, and think it would work really well in this fudge, though I haven’t tried it. I usually swap dark brown for light in any cookie recipe and it works great. If you try dark or even a mixture, let me know how it goes.
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Brown Sugar Fudge Recipe
Brown Sugar Fudge
- Candy thermometer
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned evaporated milk 5 fluid ounces
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter cut into tablespoons (1 & ½ sticks)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
- Line an 8-inch square glass baking dish with aluminum foil, overlapping sides.
- Combine evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, and bring just to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 238° F on a candy thermometer, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked fudge mixture to a heatproof bowl. Beat in vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until fudge is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Spread evenly in the prepared 8-inch square baking pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm enough to cut, about 30 minutes.
- Using aluminum foil as aid, lift fudge from pan. Cut fudge into 64 1-inch squares with a sharp knife.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
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This look so good! I didn’t know there was a such thing as a candy thermometer, lol. You learn something new everyday!
Penuche is pronounced puh-noo-chee!
Love the extra recipes you reference like beer brittle – sounds good!
I like my fudge smooth too! I don’t like nuts or other candies in it – it is delcious all on its own!
I’ve never made fudge but this sounds amazing. I also didn’t know that about condensed milk; I just assumed it would burn at high heat, too. Thanks for the recipe!
The recipe sounds yummy. Havent made our fudge yet so this will be added to it!
I have never heard of fudgee made with brown sugar but it sure sounds delicious 🙂 I will be trying this recipe
I love fudge but never tried brown sugar fudge. This seems easy to make and sounds delicious. I will try it with nuts. Thanks for the recipe.
this fudge reminds you of a fabulous New Orleans praline (P:
i forgot to say why i like it i like it because fudge tastes good im gonna make this
Honestly I don’t usually read recipe posts but this looks SO yummy! Thanks and God bless!
I think adding nuts (as per the end suggestion) would be a great idea; it would add dimension and texture to the fudge.
Brown Sugar Fudge, especially with toasted pecan pieces, sounds absolutely divine! Reminds me of the candy my grandmother used to make that no one has the recipe for. I can not wait to try this!
This sounds delicious, and I think I will make it as one of my Christmas desserts this year! Thanks for the tip about adding nuts – I think I will add salted peanuts.
I like to try new recipes and this one looks really good.
I actually like the brown sugar best. I like fudge, but sometimes it’s just too chocolaty. This sounds like a great alternative.
Fudge of course. My mother made the best and this recipe is very similar.
Ooh! I have had this before and it is heavenly, especially with nuts like walnuts or even better pecans. Thank you for this opportunity 🙂
I make fudge every Christmas. This is one I’d like to add the list. Thanks.