As with my mother and grandmothers before me, I spend some portion of every December preparing an array of sweet treats to share with (and send to) folks I care about. And sure, creating a dozen varieties of sugar-laden cookies and candies over the course of a weekend requires an iron stomach and a superhuman ability to generate insulin, but some of the best and most delicious candies are actually very simple to throw together. Take this soft and luscious peanut butter fudge, for instance. All told, making a batch of this fudge takes no more than 15 minutes, most of which is spent stirring.
I almost never eat candy the rest of the year, but this has long been one of my favorite holiday desserts. If you’re a fan of penuche, my guess is that you’ll be a fan of this fudge. It’s a dense, smooth, and sweet candy with a mild but satisfying flavor.
You will need a candy thermometer to make this recipe. For those of you who are new to this, you’ll be cooking your sugar to soft ball stage. The basic idea is that sugar changes in texture the hotter it gets. If you’re at soft ball stage and you put a drop of your hot sugar mixture into a glass of ice water, it will form a soft ball that you can squeeze between your fingers. If it dissolves, or just turns into a thin thread, it hasn’t cooked long enough, and will not set as firmly as desired for fudge. Once sugar reaches soft ball stage, its temperature will continue to rise rapidly, and if you aren’t careful to turn off the heat as soon as it’s reached the right temperature, your fudge will set, but it will be hard, dry, and grainy. You can test your thermometer for accuracy before attempting candy by placing it in a pot of boiling water and checking to see that the temperature reads 212°F. Adjust your desired cooking temperature accordingly.
Don’t let that scare you off, though! As long as you’re patient, most candy-making is really easy once you get the hang of it. And this is really a wonderful recipe to have up your sleeve. Of the dozens of candies and cookies I’ve made during the holiday season over the years, this one is by far the most requested.
- 2 c sugar
- ⅔ c soy milk
- 1 c vegan marshmallow cream*
- 1 c peanut butter (creamy, sweetened)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Grease an 8×8″ pan.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and soy milk.
- Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Stirring constantly, continue to cook until mixture reaches soft ball stage (235-240°F). As long as you keep stirring, it won’t overflow!
- Remove from heat and beat in peanut butter and marshmallow creme.
- Beat in vanilla.
- Pour into pan and tilt gently to distribute evenly.
- Refrigerate to set.
*For vegan marshmallow cream, I like to use Suzanne’s Ricemellow Creme.