Aunt Bill's Brown Candy | The Daily Dish

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Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy

16 Comments | Written on May 24, 2013 at 5:00 am , by

Unless you are from Oklahoma, you probably look at this title quizzically and think “What?!”  This delicious candy with a funny name is an Okie staple.   My mom lived in Oklahoma for many years and my Aunt and Uncle still reside in Oklahoma City.

With the terrible tornadoes affecting Oklahoma this week, I wanted to post a recipe to honor this beautiful state.  Luckily my family over there is safe and sound, but so many have suffered tragic loss.  Please consider donating to the Red Cross or other disaster relief efforts, in times like this every little bit helps!

Keep reading for the recipe…

This is the original “Aunt Bill’s” recipe that my grandma made in the years they lived in Oklahoma.  Let me tell you, when the recipe says it is easier with two people, that’s no joke.  I attempted to make this by myself last night and it was difficult to say the least!  There is a lot of stirring, two pots at the same time in fact.  I woke up with sore arms!

Find a friend, whip up a batch and share!  That’s half the fun of making candy…

Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy

3 pints white granulated sugar

1 pint whole milk (or cream)

1/4 pound butter

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 pounds coarsely chopped pecans

Pour 1 pint of the sugar into a heavy pan and place over low heat.  Begin stirring with a wooden spoon and keep moving sugar so it will not scorch.  This will take over a half hour, and can’t be cooked fast or it will turn very dark and will smoke.  It should be about the color of light brown sugar syrup.

As soon as you have the sugar heating, pour the remaining two pints of sugar and the milk into a deep heavy pan and set it over low heat to cook along slowly while melting the sugar in the other pan.  When the sugar is melted and golden, begin pouring it into the pan of sugar and milk, which should be simmering, and keep on low heat and stir constantly.  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.  Be sure and stir across the bottom of the pan frequently.  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. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the baking soda, stirring vigorously as it will foam up.  As soon as the soda is mixed, add the butter and stir until melted.

Set pan aside and let sit for 20 minutes, but not in a cold area.  After 20 minutes, add vanilla and begin beating the mixture with a wooden spoon.  Beat until the mixture is thick and heavy, having a dull appearance rather than a glossy sheen.  Add the pecans and mix well.  Turn into square pans or 9-by-13-inch pans and let cool.  The recipe makes 6 pounds of candy and will keep moist for a long time if kept covered in airtight containers.

16 Responses to “Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy”

  • 1
    Betty Hicks says:

    Could you use brown sugar instead of browning the white sugar? I always burn it when I am trying to brown white sugar.

    • Kristina Vanni says:

      No, unfortunately you will need to brown the white sugar according to the recipe in order to make this candy. It is a specific process to make the candy, whereas brown sugar is produced with the addition of molasses.

  • 2
    Robin Lackey says:

    When I saw this recipe the first thing I thought of was my grandmother and my mother making this every year at Christmas. What wonderful memories of my mom making homemade candy for our teachers. She’d make Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy and Rock Candy (some call them Martha Washington Balls). We’d wrap each individual pieces in saran wrap and tie a neat little ribbon around each one. She’d then put all the candy in a jar. My grandmother and my mother both are from Western Oklahoma. I was born there as well, although I now live in Mississippi. Thanks for a great trip down memory lane.

  • 3
    Mary Price says:

    How many cups in a pint of white sugar?

    • Beverly Ericksen says:

      The secret of browning white sugar is to be patient and keep stirring constantly until it turns a light brown. Don’t get in a hurry or it will burn. I make Flan and it takes a long time for the sugar to be right but it is worth it. You also can make caramel like this. Just keep doing it and you will get it down. There is 2 cups of sugar in 1 pint.

    • kendra says:

      2 cups to a pint, 4 cups to a quart, 8 cups to 1/2 gallon, 16 cups to 1 gallon

  • 4
    T says:

    I too have not had much luck browing white sugar to make sugar syrup. I wonder if you could use something like Lyle’s Golden Syrup (awesome pantry staple I use in place of corn syrup with fabulous results)?

    • Beverly Ericksen says:

      Turning white sugar is very easy, low flame, constant stirring, and lots of patients. The more you do it the easier it becomes. Then it will come to you very easy.

  • 5
    cuz says:

    2 cups make a pint

  • 6
    Michelle says:

    mine always turns gainy in the last step, while im stirring out the gloss, how do i stop that n keep it creamy?

  • 7
    Ronda says:

    My mom melted her sugar in the oven 225 degree in her iron skillet, she said it sure saved a lot of time and didn’t make her arms hurt so much.

  • 8
    Cindy says:

    My Grandma was from Cloud Chief Oklahoma, and this recipe has been a favorite in our family for eons! My grandma and mom always said to only use cane sugar when making this recipe, because cane sugar (look for brands like C&H, Domino, or Morinda, if it doesn’t say cane sugar, assume it’s not!!) will melt completely, beet sugar doesn’t, which can cause grainy results. Cane sugar comes from sugar cane.

  • 9
    Shelly Allison says:

    I’m from Oklahoma also, a lady at Woolaroc showed us girls at Christmas time how to make this wonderful treat . Her name was Lavada, an awesome lady whom has passed I make this receipe in her memory during the holidays and hope she smiles . Its a super candy . I plan to pass it down to my all my grandchildren .

  • 10
    michelle says:

    My grandmother made this every year. It always looked so difficult. She used to make it for my best friend .They are both gone now and this recipe brings back wonderful memories Thanks

  • 11
    Steve Garrette says:

    I noticed that this recipe calls for one cup of butter and a 30 minute wait after beating the butter in, and I’ve seen other recipes that appear to be copies, call for 1/2 cup of butter and a 20 minute wait time after adding butter. Wonder if the additional butter might make it a little more pliable and creamy?

    • Better Recipes Staff says:

      Hi Steve,

      That is indeed why we included it in this version. Personally, we like a creamier variant, but the other recipes you’ve seen should yield a similar product.

      Have a wonderful day,
      Better Recipes Team

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