This original candy from my home state of Oklahoma is a rich, caramel-like fudge that makes a large amount-6 pounds. Recipe can be halved if desired. Aunt Bill’s takes quite a while to make, has some complicated instructions, and is expensive but worth the once yearly effort. This is my family’s favorite Christmas candy.
6 cups white granulated sugar – divided
2 cups whole milk (or cream)
1/4 pound or ½ cup butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pounds coarsely chopped pecans (This is a lot of pecans—about 8 cups!)
In a heavy pan over low heat, begin heating 3 cups sugar. (I use a cast iron skillet and wooden spoon.) Stir constantly to prevent scorching. This will take about 30 minutes and will scorch if rushed. When melted, it should be a light brown, caramel color.
As soon as you have the first sugar heating:
In a separate deep heavy pan, pour the remaining sugar and the milk. Cook over low heat. (Both mixtures will be cooking at the same time.)
When the first sugar is melted, begin pouring it slowly into the pan of sugar and milk. (The secret to mixing these ingredients together is to pour the golden sugar in a very thin, constant stream, no thicker than a knitting needle.) Stir constantly, remembering to stir the bottom too. This is easier if you make it a two-person task!
Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture forms a firm ball when dropped into cold water. (250 degrees on the candy thermometer.) Remove from heat. Add baking soda.
Stir vigorously as it foams up. Add butter and stir.
Set pan aside to cool for 20 minutes. Add vanilla. Beat until mixture is thick and heavy and begins to loss its gloss. Mix in pecans. Turn onto buttered, sided cookie sheetor 9 x 13 pans and let cool. Cut into one inch squares, store in airtight containers.