Brown sugar fudge is a classic, old-fashioned recipe made with a few simple ingredients. It has a delicious butterscotch flavor that’s sweet, creamy and makes for a delicious gift.
There are a lot of fudge recipes made with sweetened condensed milk or marshmallow cream – but if you want to make fudge the old-fashioned way, then this brown sugar fudge is the recipe you need. It’s very sweet, so you only need a small piece and has brown sugar butterscotch flavor that’s highly addicting.
I like to add in some walnuts or pecans to cut the sweetness, but that’s totally up to you.
Making the Fudge
This recipe made by boiling together brown sugar, white sugar, evaporated milk and butter in a large pot. You’ll first gently stir the mixture as everything melts together (this prevents burning on the bottom of the pan), then bring the mixture to a boil for about about 15 minutes.
Once the mixture reaches the “soft-ball” stage, you’ll remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Let it cool, then beat it with an electric mixer for 5 minutes – or until it no longer looks glossy. In go the toasted nuts (if you’re using them), then spoon it into your pan and its ready to set.
The Soft-Ball Stage
When making homemade candy – you’ll often hear about the “soft-ball” or “hard-crack” stages. These stages refer to the temperature the boiling sugar mixture reaches. The “soft-ball” stage is used for softer candies, such as fudge, whereas the “hard-crack” stage is for things like peanut brittle or toffee.
The “soft-ball” stage is when the boiling sugar mixture reaches 240F (116C) degrees on a candy thermometer. Alternatively, you can have a glass of ice water on hand. If you drop a small teaspoon of the boiling sugar in the ice cold water, you should be able to form it into a ball shape that’s slightly squishy.
Storing, Freezing & Make-Ahead Tips
Fudge will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. However, if you feel like your fudge is a little soft (this can happen if it hasn’t boiled for quite long enough) – then I recommend storing in the fridge. It will last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Fudge freezes very well too. Wrap the pan fudge in aluminium foil and place in a freezer container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw in the fridge overnight. If you want to freeze layers of fudge, make sure you have a piece of parchment paper between each layer.
Sweet, creamy, and perfect for anyone with a serious sweet tooth – this old-fashioned brown sugar fudge is a delicious easy recipe for the holidays. Pair it with some chocolate fudge or even peanut butter fudge, and you have the perfect plate.
Brown Sugar Fudge
- candy thermometer
- 1 cup chopped walnuts*
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk*
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Toasting the Walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Add the walnuts to a cookie sheet in an even layer and bake for 8-10 minutes until they're a slightly darker brown color (AKA toasted).
Making the Fudge
- Lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges.
- Clamp a candy thermometer to the outside of a large, heavy bottom saucepan.
- Add the brown sugar, white sugar, evaporated milk and unsalted butter to the saucepan. Melt over low heat while gently stirring to avoid burning.
- Adjust the heat to medium and bring to a boil - stir occasionally. Boil the mixture until it reaches 240F (116C) degrees on the candy thermometer. This typically takes me over 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Let it cool until its lukewarm.
- Beat with an electric mixer for 5 minutes until it's no longer glossy.
- Stir in the nuts.
- Spoon the fudge into the pan and smooth the top. Let the pan sit for the fudge to set (about 2-4 hours).
- When ready to slice, lift the fudge out of the pan using the overhang around the edges and place on a cutting board. Slice using a sharp knife and store in the fridge.
- Feel free to use walnuts or pecans, or leave them out.
- Make sure to use evaporated milk, and not sweetened condensed milk.
- Store fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 piece, assuming the pan is sliced into 36 equal pieces.