One of my favorite daily traditions is to watch the Today Show every morning. It’s a bit zany, but I love it. It was always on in the morning when I was younger and getting ready for school. I loved watching Katie Couric and Matt Lauer while downing a bowl of cereal. Now, I enjoy watching Savannah’s adorable struggling through cooking segments, Ann (from Oregon!) making her mark as a lead anchor, and all of the necessary–and not-so-necessary–“news.” This week, Today has been celebrating its 60th birthday. So, happy birthday, Today!
To celebrate, I’m featuring a candy recipe I saw featured early in December on Today from Chuck Hughes. Being a fan of fudge, I knew I had to try making Sucre a la Creme, a French-Canadian fudge-like candy. It has no chocolate, but is packed with maple flavor. It is scrumptious.
To make it a bit more “Oregon”-like for our season’s theme, Jess and I substituted Oregon hazelnuts in for the pecans the recipe called for.
- Oil, for greasing pan
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup 35-percent cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped, for garnish
- Maldon salt, for garnish
Line an 8-inch (20-cm) square pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cream, sugar, maple syrup, butter and salt and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer in the center of the pan and simmer over medium heat without stirring until the thermometer reads 237 degrees F (114 degrees C). Add the vanilla extract without stirring. Place the pan in a cold water bath. Cool, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 113 degrees F (45 degrees C), about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the water bath. Using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until the mixture begins to lighten in color and become creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Please note that if you whip too much, the sugar and cream mixture will harden before you have time to pour it into the pan.
Pour immediately into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Garnish with crushed toasted pecans and Maldon salt. Cover with plastic wrap. Let cool for about 1 hour at room temperature or 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove from the pan and remove from the plastic wrap. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Our notes: Like I said above, we used hazelnuts instead of pecans. They were a bit harder than pecans would have been, but the toasted flavor was great with the sweetness of the candy. Also, we didn’t have Maldon salt, so used sea salt flakes instead. The resulting candy was incredibly sweet and decadent, but delicious. I suggest cutting in very small squares to avoid a sugar overload.