This is a blog for people to discuss what they are eating. There is a theory that by journaling eating habits, people will eat healthier. I am trying to cook more at home and feed my family a wider variety of foods. People can just read or join as co-authors. Topics don't have to be recipes with nice photos. You can write about eating habits, special diets, culinary cultural differences, etc.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pecan Penuche (Brown Sugar Fudge)

This is a scan of the recipe I use to make penuche. I got this recipe when my Mother gifted me with "The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook" for Christmas of 1985. It was my first all my own cookbook. The very first of many. I was working as a nanny for two beautiful little girls at the time. They loved my cookbook, too. They would sit on my lap and we would page thru the pictures and diagrams and plan huge, fantastic, glorious meals together. That's a happy memory. Of all the cookbooks I have acquired over the years, this is by far the most used. In fact, I think I'm going to purchase a new one and retire this one to the shelf. The pages are now falling out, for goodness sake!

This penuche is the most delicious thing you will ever put in your mouth. If you like sweets, that is. The recipe is simple, the directions easy to follow... and I still get a different result every time I make it. I made two batches this evening. The first turned out light, kinda dry on the outside, creamy and melt in your mouth on the inside. The second batch is slightly darker, a little chewier, almost like it was trying to be caramel. Not the taste, but the consistency. That's okay, it's all good... but I'm just saying. It seems that if the temperature is off by even a half a degree at any point, or if you beat it for one stroke more or less, you will get a slightly different result. I've never made a batch that wasn't delicious, it's just not the same all the time. I make it every single year, anyway. If I didn't make my sister Martie this candy she would think I didn't love her anymore. HA!

I do hope you guys will try this, even with what I said about the varied results. Its all good, ya know?

The following is a good, all-purpose, easy to adapt fudge recipe. I got it from my Mom's cookbook (which I now have since she gave it to me a couple years before she passed away) "Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook Collector's Edition" Its on page 454 and it's called "Dorchester Fudge". This is exactly what it says in the book:

1 package (8 squares) Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup marshmallow topping
1/2 cup chopped nuts* (optional)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk

Place chocolate in a bowl with marshmallow topping, nuts, butter and vanilla; set aside. Combine sugar and milk in 2 quart saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Keep at full rolling boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Carefully pour boiling sugar syrup over chocolate mixture and stir until chocolate is melted. Pour into buttered 8-inch square pan. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Cut into squares.
Makes 1 1/2 pounds or about 3 dozen pieces
*Or use 1 cup BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut.

Then the recipe goes on to give a couple of variations. Mocha Almond Fudge, which is putting instant coffee in with the sugar and milk and using almonds for the nuts. One is Peanut Butter Fudge, which is using peanut butter instead of marshmallow topping and using peanuts for the nuts. I've made them both. I love Mocha fudge, but strangely enough, I don't like almonds in my fudge. Or peanuts. I like peanut butter fudge, but when I make it I just substitute Peanut Butter chips for the chocolate. Oh, guess I should say, I don't always use Baker's chocolate squares. 8 ounces (by weight) of any type chip will work with this recipe. Some of my variations are,
New one as of tonight:
Use 8 ounces of white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate and instead of using chopped nuts, use 2-3 Tablespoons of crushed peppermint candy canes. This stuff is yummy. I'm going to try the candy canes with some Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate chips that I have. I will let you know how that goes.
As I said, I also make Peanut Butter fudge by using those chips instead of chocolate. Or you can do it the way the book says and make chocolate/peanut butter fudge. Both are good.
You can change the flavor in numerous ways... substituting different extracts for the vanilla. The Maple Walnut fudge is always a favorite. I have made white chocolate fudge with chopped up candied cherries and citrus peel with macadamia nuts. That was a yummy one. I have used Kahlua in place of one half of the milk before. Also quite tasty, but you need to use about 2 more ounces of chips to get it to firm up properly.
Also, the directions in the book say to chill this. Don't do it. As I discussed in chaki's post about the maple fudge, putting your fudge in the fridge can do funny things to it. And I don't mean funny in a good way. It may take a tad longer before you can sample it, but leave it on a wire rack to cool on the counter. Room temp is better tasting anyway. How can you get the full flavor of the thing if it's cold?

Anyway... use your imagination. You can't mess this stuff up. And if you do... anything you end up with will almost certainly make a delicious topping for ice cream.


Blogger chaki said...

I am through making candy for this year but will definitely keep this one in mind. If you find your memory stick, would you mind taking a group photo of everything you make before sending it off?? I really want to see the presentation aspect of this. But don't sweat it. I've lost my camera battery and had to blog without photos for a week. Missed a cute amateur sumo wrestler in a thong. Pam and Tricia were so disappointed...

December 13, 2008 at 9:48 PM

Blogger Arsenette said...

LMAO I remember that .. sniff.. no cute guy sumo pic..

Thanks for the recipes! Hey.. I think my Mother in Law has that book.. I know I have something but not sure what it is.. it's burried in the library which is overflowing with books.. have to trim that down and change computer books to the computer room.. yeah what a concept..

DEFINATELY will adore just a pic of what it looks like.

December 13, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Blogger Some Kinda Wonderful said...

Be nice to your MIL, Elsie and maybe she'll leave it to you in her will. That has got to be one of the best conceived and executed cookbooks in the history of cookbook publishing. The perfect thing for cooks who are just starting out or for seasoned cooks who just want to know more. It has excellent illustrations, diagrams, explanations, step-by-step instructions on most of the recipes... I love mine.

December 13, 2008 at 10:22 PM


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