Pumpkin Spice Penuche Fudge

by Kate on October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Penuche Fudge

This month for First on the First, it’s all about penuche. If you’re not familiar, penuche is fudge made from only brown sugar, butter and milk. Traditionally it has no other flavorings. In the spirit of kitchen creativity, I did not go traditional. Instead, I made pumpkin spice fudge perfect for autumn. Penuche has somewhat of a caramel flavor to it which pairs perfectly with pumpkin spice resulting in a delightful autumn candy.

In the past, I’ve loved making different candies. My Lavender-Vanilla Bean Marshmallows were pillowy goodness that were so much better than store-bought marshmallows. It doesn’t get any easier than Chocolate Toffee “Crack.”  Oh and Cherry Pistachio Nougat is ridiculously delicious with salty nuts and tart cherries enveloped in chewy snowy white nougat.  But when it came to making penuche, my first batch was an epic fail. I’m talking, it was anything but fudge-like. It takes a special kind of person to make a batch of fudge that should be thick and smooth and have it disintegrate into a dry, crumbly mixture. I’m that person. How does that even happen? Talk about feeling defeated.

Penuche Fail

I took a breather for a few days and spoke to the gals in our group of First on the First participants. After getting some sage advice about moisture levels and the intricacies of candy making, I went back to it. My second batch yielded MUCH better results! Now, don’t let my fudge fail deter you. I’m here to guide you so that you learn from my mistakes and don’t end up with penuche crumbs. In the end, this pumpkin spice fudge is actually a breeze to make so long as all your ingredients are bone dry and you work quickly.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Fudge - FoodBabbles.com

In no time at all, you’ll be sinking your teeth into a dense piece of autumn fudge goodness. We’d love to have you join in! Take a gander at the other penuche creations and then make some of your own.

Don’t forget to share your results with us! We’d love to see your creations. Not into candy making? Next month, we’re going to try making homemade cheeses! So excited for that challenge. I’ve made fresh ricotta from scratch before and used to make Grilled Pizza with Fresh Ricotta & Strawberries but now I’m ready to take on something new.



One Year Ago: Apple Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Two Years Ago: Croissants

Pumpkin Spice Penuche Fudge

35 minutes

Pumpkin Spice Penuche Fudge

This delightful pumpkin spice brown sugar fudge is the perfect autumn candy.


  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish by linking with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on either side to allow you to lift out the fudge later. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add both sugars, milk, butter and salt. Heat mixture over medium low heat, stirring constantly until mixture reads 236 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer, 20-30 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat on medium high until thick and smooth. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin spice and vanilla extract and beat just until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Spread mixture into prepared pan and smooth top. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruthy @ Omeletta October 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Your penuche turned out beautiful! I had a major early fail with my penuche as well, but it;s totally worth it to have another go. I think I’m in love with this stuff.


Kate October 6, 2013 at 9:22 pm

So glad you persisted and that you enjoyed the challenge! Thanks for participating πŸ™‚


Anna (HIdden Ponies) October 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Glad you persisted – I love the pumpkin addition! Fall needs its own fudge πŸ™‚


ChristineM October 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

yum… fudge…. Hey kate, could I use 2% milk or should it be whole milk for this recipe?


Kate October 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I would only use whole milk, personally. The reason being, I had issues with my first recipe and I used nonfat milk. I also had different measurements of other ingredients as well. I don’t know if the fat content of the milk effected the outcome but I know that this recipe works the way its written. That being said, if you do give it a try with 2% milk, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Let me know.


ChristineM October 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I will get whole milk. I don’t want to screw it up! ha ha


Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes October 2, 2013 at 5:56 am

The food science dork in me just wants to try this so that I can try to figure out what went wrong:) I have never tried to make Penuche either, but I am now thinking it will be a great gift for the holidays.


Kate October 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm

It truly would make a lovely gift for the holidays. Wonderful idea! If you do figure out what went wrong, let me know! It was so frustrating but I’m glad I got it to work in the end. Well worth multiple attempts.


tanya October 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

I have always wondered what Penuche was! This sounds so good Kate, I would absolutely love to sink my teeth in to this fudge!


Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction October 2, 2013 at 11:37 am

Love that you added pumpkin spices! I am going to have to try this soon!


Meghan @ The Tasty Fork October 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I’m on board with just about anything pumpkin right now. This looks great and I love the simple ingredients!!


Alyssa D. {Suitcases & Sweets} October 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm

How fun that you added pumpkin! Perfect for fall!


Deanna Segrave-Daly October 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

I had never heard about penuche fudge before but so interesting to read about it (and I like when bloggers share their fails – you end up teaching your readers and it shows that you are only human too πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see the homemade cheeses next month!


Kate October 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I agree! I don’t always love the experience of screwing up and then sharing it but I do share my fails. I even have a category for “Flops & Fails” πŸ™‚ Fortunately there aren’t very many things contained in that category!


Jen October 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm

What gorgeous fudge, and what a yummy flavor combination! Glad it worked for you the second time around. I’ve made penuche using a recipe from Epicurious–I think it’s called “Brown Sugar Fudge”–and it’s worked for me every time, so if you’re looking for a more foolproof recipe, that one may be worth a shot.


Kate October 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I’ll definitely look for that one! I like foolproof πŸ™‚ When I had my mishap, I was actually using a Martha Stewart recipe. Instead, I decided to look at a lot of recipes and then make my own. That is what worked in the end. Thanks Jen!


Carrie @ poet in the pantry October 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Great adaptation on a traditional Fall favorite! At least you were in good company with the crumbs. πŸ˜‰ You have to act really fast and catch it at just the right time. Your 2nd attempt is gorgeous!


Kate October 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm

It’s amazing how quickly it goes from the perfect consistency to CRUMBS!! So strange. Great challenge this month for sure.


Laura Dembowski October 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I love homemade fudge and am always looking for great recipes that call for normal ingredients. So happy to have found this!


Laura Dembowski December 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I just wanted to let you know I posted my version of this recipe on my blog. It was an amazing treat! I’d love if you’d check out my post! http://piesandplots.net/penuche-fudge-sundaysupper/


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