Maple pecan fudge is a Southerner’s delight. And it’s not just for the holidays…although we have to say it makes one doozy of a hostess gift.
Maple pecan fudge. It’s an old-fashioned fudge that melds the classic fall flavors of maple and pecan to magnificent effect. And there’s no need to have a standing mixer or bulging biceps to make this sweetly nutty fudge recipe at home. We’ve got ways to beat it into submission that suit any cook and kitchen, without making you want to wearily utter “Oh, fudge!” Originally published April 27, 2004.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Special Equipment: pastry brush, candy thermometer, 5-inch-wide flexible-blade scraper
Maple Pecan Fudge
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 3 H, 30 M
- Makes 64 pieces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans
- 1. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil, allowing it to extend beyond the sides of the pan. Coat the top of the foil with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
- 2. In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, warm the maple syrup, half-and-half, sugar, corn syrup, and salt, stirring constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in warm water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Place a candy or deep-fry thermometer in the pan and simmer the mixture, without stirring, until it registers 238°F (114°C) on the thermometer, about 15 minutes.
- 3. Remove the pan from the heat and place the thermometer in warm water to cool. Sprinkle a marble board or the back of a full-size baking sheet [See Leora’s comment below.–ed.] with cold water and immediately pour the hot mixture onto it. Do not scrape out the bottom of the pan. Dot the surface of the mixture with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Let the mixture cool on the marble until it registers 110°F (43°C) on the thermometer, about 5 minutes if using marble, about 15 minutes if using a baking sheet.
- 4. If using a stand mixer, with a 5-inch-wide flexible-blade scraper, transfer the fudge mixture to the bowl of the mixer, add the vanilla, and, with the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until it thickens and loses its shine, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chopped pecans and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
If using a wooden spoon, transfer the fudge mixture to a 2-quart mixing bowl, add the vanilla, and beat the mixture with the wooden spoon until it thickens and loses its shine, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chopped pecans and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
If using a flexible-blade scraper, spread the mixture into a large rectangle on the marble or baking sheet, sprinkle with the vanilla, then use a 5-inch-wide flexible-blade scraper to gather the mixture back to the center of the marble or baking sheet, folding in the edges. Repeat this process until the mixture begins to thicken and lose its shine, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans and continue to work the fudge until incorporated, about 1 minute.
- 5. Turn the fudge into the prepared pan. Use your fingertips to press the fudge into the corners of the pan and smooth the surface. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let it rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
- 6. Remove the fudge from the pan by lifting out the aluminum foil. Invert the candy onto a cutting board, peel the foil from the fudge, and invert the candy again so it’s right side up. Using a large chef’s knife, cut the fudge into 1-inch squares. The fudge is best served at room temperature. (The fudge will keep for 10 days at room temperature or 1 month in the refrigerator when sandwiched between layers of waxed paper in a tightly covered container.)