A slice of penuche with walnuts
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|Brown sugar, butter, milk; often nuts|
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Penuche (Italian: panucci) is a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, using no flavorings except for vanilla. Penuche often has a tannish color, and is lighter than regular fudge. It is formed by the caramelization of brown sugar, thus its flavor is said to be reminiscent of caramel. Nuts, especially pecans, are often added to penuche for texture, especially in the making of penuche candies. It is primarily a regional food, found in New England and some places in the Southern United States, though in the latter it goes by different names, usually "brown sugar fudge candy".
Penuche is also used as a boiled icing flavor. In Hawaii, its name is localized as panocha or panuche. Panocha is said to come from the Spanish word for raw sugar. Hawaiian cooks often reminisce about both panocha fudge and icing. As an icing, it was common as topping for prune cake. Other names for penuche include "noochie" and creamy praline fudge.
Penuche is classed in the fudge family because it follows a similar method of preparation:
- A fat-sugar solution is heated to the soft ball stage, about 236 °F (113 °C).
- The solution is cooled without disturbance to lukewarm, about 110 °F (43 °C).
- Flavorings are added and the solution is beaten until thick.
- The mixture is poured into a pan, allowed to cool, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Most traditional (i.e. not "no-cook" or "quick") fudges follow a similar preparation method. What distinguishes penuche is the use of brown sugar rather than white.
In recent years, it has become common in New England to add maple syrup to the recipe for penuche fudge. Some confectioners will call this "maple syrup penuche fudge", and others do not make any distinction at all.
One penuche-style recipe is called "no-bake penuche drop cookies", which is made from brown sugar, milk, butter, oats, and nuts.
A very similar confection is Sucre à la Crème (literally "sugar with cream"), a Québec confection traditionally prepared during the winter holiday season. The universality of the brown sugar and dairy confection manifests in the form of a slightly crumblier treat called Tablet originating in Scotland.
- "Penuche Candy: What is it and how is it spelled?". 2005-11-01. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- Bob Sassone (2007-07-22). "Happy National Penuche Fudge Day! - Slashfood". Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. New York: Fawcett Publications, 1966. Vol. 9. s.v. "Penuche"
- māʻona archives: Penuche
- "About.com Southern Food: No bake Penuche Cookies". Retrieved 2007-09-13.
- The many languages of sucre à la crème published onine in the Food Blog Foodie Prints, February 8, 2008 and accessed via the net on March 20, 2013
- Webb, Andrew: Food Brittania, Random House, Aug 31, 2012, page 189. Accessed via Google Books March 20, 2013
- America's Cook Book, Compiled by the New York Herald Tribune home institute, published by Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright 1937, 1940, 1942.