Aunt Bill's Brown Candy

by Katie of:


(Aunt Susan’s recipe, adapted from the Oklahoman)

6 cups white sugar, divided

2 cups cream or whole milk (Milnot also works)

1/4 teaspoon soda

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups nuts, broken (preferably pecans)


Pour two cups of sugar into a heavy aluminum or iron skillet and place it over low heat. Begin stirring with a wooden spoon and keep the sugar moving so that it will not scorch. It will take about twenty minutes to completely melt all of the sugar, and at no time should it smoke or cook so fast that it turns dark. It should be about the color of light brown syrup.


As soon as you have the sugar heating, pour the remaining four cups of sugar together with the two cups of milk or cream into a deep heavy kettle and set it over low heat to cook slowly while you are melting the sugar in the skillet.


As soon as the sugar is melted, begin pouring it into the kettle of boiling milk and sugar, keeping it over very low heat and stirring constantly.


Now the real secret of mixing these ingredients is to pour a very fine stream from the skillet into the pan. Aunt Bill always said to pour a stream no larger than a knitting needle while stirring across the bottom of the kettle at the same time. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture forms a firm ball (238 degrees F to 240 degrees F) when dropped into cold water.


After this test, turn out the fire and immediately add soda to the mixture, stirring hard as it foams up. As soon as the soda is mixed, add the butter, allowing it to melt as you stir.


Now set the pan of candy off the stove—but not outdoors or in a cold place—for about twenty minutes, until it is lukewarm; add the vanilla and begin beating. Using a wooden spoon, beat until the mixture is thickened and heavy and takes on a dull appearance instead of a glossy sheen. Add the broken nutmeat and mix.


Turn into buttered tin boxes or square pans where it can be cut into squares when cooled. This candy stays moist and delicious indefinitely. Decorate the pieces with halves of pecans and you have a most attractive candy.