With everything piling on top of me, I realized yesterday morning I had to get cracking and make something for the Family Recipes event that I co-host with Laura of The Spiced Life. I opened up my emails sent to me by my Aunt Ann with scans of Nanny's recipes and decided on something that I could give to my and Grumpy's dad for Father's day. (Happy Father's day daddies!)
Nanny used to make a penuche frosting that was to die for. So, when I saw this recipe for brown sugar fudge that was one she made I knew I was going to make it. I only had to pray....and pray hard that I didn't fail at making it. Fudge has been something I have failed at many times. I don't understand why because I grew up with mom making it almost every Saturday night to go with our popcorn while we watched TV shows like Lawrence Welk & Green Acres. Oh, am I telling you how old I am by mentioning that? ;-) In any case, I have never been good at making fudge so I don't make it. Much.
Which brings me to a story I probably should tell you - although embarrassing to me, my ex-husband (Dana) thought it was hilarious and actually now I can laugh at it. Some. he he. When he and I were first married I decided to make fudge for him while he was at work. It turned out gooey and so, in order to "hide" it from him I actually put it on a shelf in the spare bedroom closet. Then I totally forgot about it. I wonder now why I just didn't throw it out? When we bought our own home a few months later Dana was cleaning out that particular closet.....and found my failed fudge!! ha ha. Well, it wasn't gooey anymore. ;-) but it also wasn't edible! Ok, now you can all laugh. Oh, you already were? LOL. Yeah. A candy maker I am not. But I still like to try sometimes! All that said, I am very proud of that piece of fudge up above. I did pretty darn good this time! I can just hear my Nanny say "Shelby Mae, lets have "just a taste" of that fudge."
Now that I have shared a few memories with you, I will share the recipe my Nanny's would make for Brown Sugar Fudge. Including a few "pointers" since Nanny just wrote the basic instructions. (as if I know what I am doing! ha!)
recipe from Mae Iris Whitton - my precious Nanny
2-1/2 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk (I used half and half since my evaporated milk I pulled out of the cupboard was outdated..and it worked just fine)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
3 Tablespoons butter (I used unsalted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Walnuts (she didn't have a measurement so I took a good handful from the bag and chopped them prior to putting in the fudge)
Combine ingredients 1-4. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Soft boil. Remove from heat and add butter. Do not stir. Cool to 110 degrees. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Beat. Pour into greased pan.
Don't you just love those directions? They are from a lady who knew what she was doing. If I didn't grow up with my mom making fudge I wouldn't know what all of that meant. So, this is what I did.
When it say's to bring the fudge to a soft boil, this means bringing it to a temperature of 234 degrees. I use a candy thermometer. My mom, she would just test it by dropping a bit of the hot syrup into a small bowl of cold water and if she could form a "soft ball" then she knew the fudge was ready. Well, since I am no good at candy making I need a thermometer!
Make sure you let the syrup cool to 110 degrees. You may look at the pot and think your have a failure before - and resist the urge to stir!! By letting it cool you are dramatically reducing your "beating" time.
When you do beat the fudge, beat it until it "just" begin's to lose it's shinyness (mom would say until it begins to lose it's gloss). Then you want to make sure to get it in your pan as quickly as possible to let it set. If you stir it too long you will have hardening fudge in your pan before you can pour.
I lined my 9x9 pan with wax paper and then sprayed it with some Pam spray. This allowed me to lift the fudge out after it had set and cut it into clean squares.