Penuche pronounced puh·noo·chee is a type of fudge that has a rich, caramel-like flavor. It is made with few ingredients and is relatively simple to prepare.  The exact origins of penuche are unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the United States, particularly in the New England region specifically Portuguese whaling families in New Bedford, MA, and Essex, CT,. The word “penuche” is derived from the Spanish word “panocha,” which refers to unrefined brown sugar. The use of brown sugar is a defining characteristic of penuche, giving it its distinct flavor. Penuche traditionally became popular in the early 20th century, and it has since become a beloved treat, especially during the holiday season. It is often associated with homemade fudge and is known for its smooth, creamy texture and sweet, caramel taste.

Recipe for Penuche:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and butter.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugars dissolve and the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Continue cooking the mixture, stirring frequently, until it reaches the soft-ball stage. To test if it has reached this stage, drop a small amount of the mixture into a bowl of cold water. It should form a soft ball that can be flattened when removed from the water.
  4. Once the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  5. Add the vanilla extract to the mixture and beat it vigorously until it thickens and loses its shine. This process can take around 5-10 minutes.
  6. If desired, stir in the chopped nuts.
  7. Pour the penuche mixture into a greased 9×9-inch baking dish or lined with parchment paper.
  8. Let the penuche cool completely at room temperature until it becomes firm.
  9. Once the penuche has set, cut it into squares or desired shapes and store in an airtight container.

The 2 other delicious treats are simple chocolate covered oreos.