Penuche

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An old-fashioned tan-colored confection made with brown sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla. The ingredients are cooked in a saucepan and are stirred constantly until heated to the soft ball stage. The mixture is then cooled, either by dropping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet to form individual pieces or by pouring the entire mixture onto the cookie sheet to form one large mass that can be sliced into pieces after cooling. The texture of the candy is similar to fudge, and the flavor is much like a rich caramel. Occasionally, chopped nuts are stirred into the mixture prior to cooling.

Penuche, which is a derivation of the Mexican word meaning brown sugar or raw sugar, is said to be the original flavor of traditional fudge. It is very popular in various regions of the United States, specifically, the South and New England, and surprisingly, Hawaii, where it is known as “Panuche” or “Panocha.” In the South, it is most often called “brown sugar fudge.” In New England, maple syrup is often added to the candy.

A cake frosting known as “Penuche Icing,” is also commonly made from the brown sugar mixture. There are several variations of the basic recipe: Some do not call for vanilla, while others may include powdered sugar. The warm icing is spread onto the cooled cake and is then allowed to cool completely to set properly.

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