First on the First: Penuche

The First on the First challenge for October was Penuche, a fudge with a caramel, butterscotch, or maple taste.

If you’ve been with me from the beginning or read last week’s retrospective, you’ve probably noticed two things: 1) I think nearly every dessert can be served with and enhanced by vanilla ice cream and 2) I don’t like anything super sweet. So, what does a girl who doesn’t like fudge do with a fudge challenge? Turn it into an ice cream topping! You see, if you overcook fudge, it gets crumbly and just right for adding a little crunch to smooth vanilla ice cream. Add some bacon (yes, bacon!) and you have the perfect salty complement to your sweet base.

If you do like fudge, I’ve included directions to follow in the recipe below (or check out others in the blog hop links at the bottom of this post) to produce soft candy squares. But, if you’re an ice cream lover or have a finicky sweet tooth, I’d highly recommend giving this version a try and creating an ice cream topping that’s just right for fall!


Click Here to Print This Recipe.


  • 5 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
  • 4 strips crispy bacon, crumbled


  • Coat a 5 x 10 loaf pan with cooking spray. Line with wax paper or plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on two sides. (For Fudge Only)
  • In a medium saucepan, bring evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently for 30-40 minutes. (For fudge, simmer until mixture registers 236 on a candy thermometer.)


  • Pour mixture into bowl of a stand mixer; beat in powdered sugar on low speed. Increase speed to medium; beat until crumbly. (For fudge, beat until mixture is thickened and smooth, about 2-4 minutes).
  • Reduce speed to low, beat in vanilla. (For fudge, beat in pecans and bacon.)
  • Stir in pecans and bacon.


  • (For fudge, spread mixture in prepared pan, smoothing top, and refrigerate uncovered until firm.)

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart. For more recipes, check out the blog hop below. Have a blog? Join us for the next First on the First


12 responses

  1. I love how you changed up the penuche into an ice cream topping! I screwed my first batch up -too gooey- so I’ll be using it on the ice cream route as well :) It was a fun challenge this month and I love your take on it!

  2. What an incredibly unique and creative recipe!! Love bacon in my desserts and this is perfection. I wish I had thought to take my “fail” and do something like this with it instead of trashing it. I’ll definitely giving this a try.

  3. I never heard of First on the First, so I’m going to check that out. What a creative way, though, to twist the challenge into something you thoroughly enjoy.

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