Sunday dawned cool and dry, a perfect day for making candy! Not sure if I wanted to make pralines, penuche, or brittle, I perused one of my favorite cookbooks and found a recipe for Russian Taffy. Russian Taffy? Never having heard of it, I did a quick search and found a link to the exact same recipe as well as other recipes that were fudge-like.
In New Orleans, there's also something called Russian Cake, which is not a Russian recipe at all, but rather a Creole Trifle made with leftover bits of cake, pie, cookies and what-have-you, all moistened with either jam, juice, rum, or a mixture thereof. Maybe this recipe was given the somewhat exotic name to make it bit more special than everyday fudge?
At any rate, the candy is scrumptious! I love that the texture and taste is nearly identical of the perfect praline, as well as the fact that I didn't have to rush and spoon out the mixture before it hardened! The husband loved them, but I shared the majority of the recipe with my mom and in-laws.
If you have never made homemade candy, take the plunge! Buy a candy thermometer and head into your kitchen - you will be so happy you did!
Russian Taffy3 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted (I increased the nuts to 3 cups)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Butter and line a 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spread pecans onto a baking sheet, and toast for 7-10 minutes; remove from oven and set aside.
Combine the sugar, milk, and condensed milk in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly, to the soft-ball stage.
Remove from the heat, and then add the pecans, butter, and vanilla.
Beat until the mixture becomes thick.
Pour into prepared pan.
Cool, remove from pan using the parchment overhang as handles, remove parchment and cut into 1-inch squares.
* To make a chocolate fudge, use this same recipe, but add 1/2 cup cocoa powder when mixing the sugar, milk, and condensed milk.
Makes about 2 dozen.
Recipe adapted from Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu