Family Recipes – Daddy’s Christmas Candy – Brown Sugar Fudge and Cocoa Fudge

Every year at Christmas time, our Daddy makes his Brown Sugar Fudge and Cocoa Fudge. The brown sugar fudge, called Panocha, is a praline flavor fudge and if you love pralines of any kind, this is the fudge for you!  You could probably leave out the pecans and make a brown sugar fudge, but these are really good!

The chocolate fudge uses real cocoa, and can be made with or without pecans or other nuts. We have some in the family that like plain chocolate and some that love the nuts, so our Daddy, “Granddaddy”-“AnDaddy”, has always tried to make special batches for each.

Brown Sugar Fudge - slicing and preparing to eat!

Brown Sugar Fudge – slicing and preparing to eat!

He is a husband of 57 years, a father of 2 girls, grandfather to 4 grandkids and their significant others, and now great-grandfather to a baby boy. He’s a very busy man, though retired, continues to work in his family business, and still makes time for his family, trying to do special things for all of us.

Just before Christmas, he spends a day or two making several “runs” of fudge candy and packs it into Christmas tins and containers, labeled for all the kids and grandkids. He passes it out on Christmas Eve, and we have it to enjoy as long as it lasts!

Recently I tried to make his fudge from his recipes and it didn’t turn out well, so he let me watch and take photos of his process so I could really see how to do it right!  It really isn’t that hard, but his tips really helped to know “when” to take the next steps. Following is the recipe for the Pecan Panocha Fudge along with pictures of him, his fudge, his process, and his tips!  I enjoyed spending this special time with my parents, even if I am only 54!

Happy Cooking!   Next blog post:   Cocoa Fudge

Pecan Panocha Brown Sugar Fudge Recipe

Pecan Panocha – Brown Sugar Fudge Recipe

Pecan Panocha  (Brown Sugar Fudge) 

1 box (3 cups) light brown sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 Tbl. butter

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (room temperature!)

Large Cast Iron Skillet, large buttered platter, long handled stirring spoon

Large platter, buttered to receive the final fudge

Large platter, buttered to receive the final fudge

Before beginning, take a small amount of butter and coat a large platter where the final fudge will cool and be sliced. Place the platter in the fridge to cool while fudge is cooking.

Ingredients ready for Brown Sugar Fudge

Ingredients ready for Brown Sugar Fudge

Pouring evaporated milk into brown sugar

Pouring evaporated milk into brown sugar

Brown sugar mixture on cool stove, then turn to medium heat and stir constantly until ready. Do Not leave alone!

Brown sugar mixture on cool stove, then turn to medium heat and stir constantly until ready. Do Not leave alone!

In a cool heavy pan (cast iron), dump brown sugar and pour in evaporated milk. Stir until blended evenly, then place on stove.

Brown sugar and milk, stirring constantly, starting to bubble

Brown sugar and milk, stirring constantly, starting to bubble

Bubbling, getting closer, but not yet....

Bubbling, getting closer, but not yet….

 

 

Spoon - halfway through, not ready yet, keep stirring!

Spoon – halfway through, not ready yet, keep stirring!

Stir continually over medium heat (Daddy places it on “6” of 9). This process of stirring and bubbling takes several minutes until the mixture reaches “soft ball” stage.

Just about ready, check for soft ball stage

Just about ready, check for soft ball stage

If you are familiar with candy making and candy thermometers, you understand. If not (Daddy doesn’t use one), continue stirring until the candy coats the spoon more evenly and when dropped into cup of cold water, forms a soft ball of candy. Daddy tests it 2-3 times to make sure it is ready.

Drop a little into a cup of cold water to see if it creates a little lump or ball...

Drop a little into a cup of cold water to see if it creates a little lump or ball…

Touch with fingers to see if the candy is forming.....it will still be soft....

Touch with fingers to see if the candy is forming…..it will still be soft….

 

At that point, take off the heat and set on a heat proof counter. Slice butter into smaller piece and drop onto the candy, but DO NOT stir.

Ready to set off the heat.

Ready to set off the heat.

Cooling, with butter, NO stirring...

Cooling, with butter, NO stirring…

 

While the candy is cooling, chop nuts if not already done. Make sure they are at room temperature so they do not cool the candy too quickly when mixed.

Cooled enough to stir with butter, set out the chilled platter and be ready to pour!

Cooled enough to stir, set out the chilled platter and be ready to pour!

 

Let sit until cooled slightly, add vanilla to the butter and fudge, and you are ready to stir the butter and vanilla into the candy. It should not be too runny.

Stir with butter and vanilla....

Stir with butter and vanilla….

Add pecans, stir quickly to pour onto platter.

Add pecans, stir quickly to pour onto platter.

Pour and spoon fudge onto chilled buttered platter.

Pour and spoon fudge onto chilled buttered platter.

When fudge is starting to cool, but still “stirrable”, stir in the chopped nuts and quickly pour out onto chilled platter and spread to make an even layer. Done! Let cool slightly until you can score or cut pieces of fudge. If you wait too long, it will be hard to cut. Store fudge in covered container.

Fudge on the platter, ready to cool for a few minutes.

Fudge on the platter, ready to cool for a few minutes.

Slice fudge with buttered sharp knife, while still slightly pliable, before it is too hard to cut.

Slice fudge with buttered sharp knife, while still slightly pliable, before it is too hard to cut.

Tip: Daddy uses a buttered sharp knife to slice the fudge into cubes.

Enjoy!!!!

Next Post:    Daddy’s Cocoa Fudge (with or without nuts!)

 

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