Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy is a family recipe that has become a holiday tradition. It has an incredible nutty pecan sweetness that is simply irresistible. My Nanna makes it every Christmas Eve and I always secretly snag a couple pieces before dinner because I just can.not.wait until after.
I called her yesterday to get the ingredient list for this delicacy and it turns out it originated in Oklahoma where my grandfather is from, and before the invention of the microwave it required hours upon hours to make. It still took me two tries to get it right, but the final result was so scrumptious I didn’t regret the multiple grocery store trips and bygone afternoon.
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
Combine sugar, soda, buttermilk, and butter in the largest microwavable bowl you have. Cover with plastic wrap and poke little holes in the top. Microwave for 2.5 minutes and then stir.
Put the bowl back in the microwave for fifteen minutes (yes, 15) and make sure to watch it very carefully. If it starts to boil over take out and stir. Use the cold water test to make sure it’s done (drip a little in to a cup of cold water and if it forms a ball then it’s done). If it’s not done microwave for two more minutes.
Add vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until it forms soft peaks. Add pecans. Transfer to a 4 x 6 pan and let cool. Once it has hardened cut in to squares (I did 1.5” x 1.5 ”).