Sort of like a brown sugar fudge.
We discussed the history of the word a bit in the penuche icing post, but this is a variation on fudge; we’ve seen it before under the spelling panouchi.
Just as with fudge, a marshmallow-enriched iteration emerged. Here’s a recipe from the March 29, 1920 edition of The Washington Times. The context is an article about uses for this newfangled product, marshmallow creme. I included the suggestion immediately below the penuche recipe, too.
One friend of mine makes the ordinary brown sugar penuche with two tablespoons of butter, two cups brown sugar, and three-fourths of a cup of rich milk, cooking until it forms a soft ball when tried in cold water. Then she lets it partially cool, and as she commences to whip it she adds a large tablespoon of the marshmallow, or a little more if she thinks the candy is cooked sufficiently to stand it. The result is delicious candy.
And still another friend served canned cream-of-tomato soup at one of her dinners, with a half teaspoon of the marshmallow in each soup plate; I tried the same thing and now always serve my tomato cream soup with it. So it is with many desserts, and with hot chocolate, the wee bit of the marshmallow adds greatly to the attractiveness of the food as well as adding to the flavor.
From the box of A.D. from Lutz, Florida, by way of Pennsylvania in the 1940s, and originating in Ohio in the 1920s.
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk or cream
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Put sugar, milk, and butter in saucepan. boil with as little stirring as possible until it makes a soft ball when tested in cold water.
Take from fire; add nuts and vanilla; beat until thick and pour into greased pan or tins.