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.
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)
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
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.
In a cool heavy pan (cast iron), dump brown sugar and pour in evaporated milk. Stir until blended evenly, then place on stove.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tip: Daddy uses a buttered sharp knife to slice the fudge into cubes.
Next Post: Daddy’s Cocoa Fudge (with or without nuts!)