Prep time
Total time
Heavenly brown sugar fudge made with light and dark brown sugars and lots of toasted pecans. Penuche is reminiscent of pecan pralines but in a creamy fudge-like form.
Recipe type: Dessert | Candy
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped, divided
Prepare one 8 inch square pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on all sides. Lightly grease the top of the parchment paper. Tip: rub a bit of vegetable shortening or butter in the pan bottom, pan corners, and pan sides to help the parchment paper stay in place. Or, line the pan with foil, allowing overhang on all sides, and lightly grease the top.
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pan, combine granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, whole milk, and whipping cream. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Tip: Rub a drop of the warm sugar mixture between your fingertips to make sure it feels smooth, with no trace of sugar granules. If the mixture feels sandy, continue warming and stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Increase the heat to medium or medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently and scraping the pan bottom to avoid scorching, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 238 degrees F, a soft ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 230 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 238 degrees.
  3. Let the candy sit until the bubbling has stopped. Scatter the butter pieces on top of the hot candy and add the vanilla, but don’t stir. After the candy has cooled a bit, give the candy a quick stir to combine the butter and vanilla but don’t worry about completely combining at this step. Let candy sit until cooled to approximately 140 to 150 degrees.
  4. When candy is cooled to approximately 140 to 150 degrees beat with a wooden spoon until the candy thickens slightly and just begins to lose its gloss, 1 to 2 minutes. Quickly add ¾ cup chopped pecans and stir just until mixed.
  5. Scrape the candy into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Tip: If candy is hard to smooth, pat smooth with your hands. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup chopped pecans over the top and gently press into the candy. Let set about 1 to 4 hours to completely cool and become firm. Cut into approximately 1-inch squares.
Recipe Notes
Equipment: Large Heavy-Bottomed Pan, Candy Thermometer Method: Stovetop Pan: One 8" Square Baking Pan Pan Prep: Parchment Lined Storage: Airtight Container, Cool Place

Help: Sugar and Caramel Stages, Toasting Nuts and Seeds

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