I love making homemade candy. It is really easy if you have a candy thermometer and it is a great way to make people’s eyes light up. Candy making is one of those old fashioned skills that has gone the way of making your own butter, bread and cheese. Hopefully it will make a comeback!
I think it is a fun thing to make because it is so completely unnecessary. Cookies, cakes, breads, dessert, and the like are all fillers. You can say, “Yeah, I made these brownies to help fill the kids up”. With candy? Not a chance. Everyone knows you made it because you have a sweet tooth.
This buttermilk candy is really hard to describe. Something like praline, something like fudge, something like penuche…and totally like none of them. You need to beat it until it loses its gloss, just like fudge. The texture is buttery and melting though- it melts cleanly in your mouth with a lingering taste of sweet and nutty. I want to try to make it again and layer it over chocolate fudge.
I make mine a little different than most. I use local, raw honey rather than corn syrup. I like the flavor that honey gives it and I just don’t like corn syrup – even organic corn syrup is very concentrated. You can replace the honey with corn syrup if you like.
This is a great addition to a candy plate at Christmas. Many older folks will look at you with amazement and then pure delight as they taste this flavor from thier childhoods. The younger ones will just be chewing and drooling so you might want to have a mop handy.
My recipe is adapted from the one in an old Farm Journal Candy Cookbook.
Easy, Old Fashioned Buttermilk Candy
- 1 cup full fat buttermilk
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tbs honey
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- Coarse salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling if desired
- Combine buttermilk and baking soda and let stand 20 minutes.
- Add sugar and honey and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is disolved.
- When mixture boils add the butter.
- Cook, stirring occasionally to the soft ball stage, 238F
- It should be a golden brown color.
- Remove from heat and cool to 110F.
- Beat until the mixture loses its gloss and thickens.
- Stir in pecans and turn into a greased 8 inch square pan.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt or fleur de sel if desired.
- Cool completely and cut into squares.
About 1 1/2 lbs