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Old-Fashioned Brown Sugar Candy

This is our grandmother’s recipe – we’ve got it memorized!

We don’t often find ourselves making candies, since we prefer to spend our efforts in the kitchen making things that we know will be better from-scratch as opposed to things we can buy from trusted candy stores…but these old fashioned brown sugar candies are a rare exception for us, so you know they have to be good.

We got this recipe from our grandmother, who used to make it every time we would go to her house – meaning we could make this recipe from memory, plus it has a very special place in our heart and brings back fond memories every time we make it. This is a super simple recipe as far as candies go, and doesn’t require any candy thermometers or fussy equipment – as long as you butter your baking dish you’ll be in good shape!

Brown sugar, butter, evaporated milk are the initial main parts of this recipe, and all you have to do is stir them together in a saucepan over medium-high heat. You’ll bring ‘em to a boil and then reduce the heat and let them cook a couple minutes longer, then beat in the powdered sugar and walnuts. This candy sets up pretty quickly, so once it starts to thicken, you’ll pour it into your buttered baking dish and let it finish setting up. It’s a bit crumbly, so you might not get perfectly cut squares, but that’s the perfect imperfection we love, so it’s all good!

Serves 16-20

20 minutes

Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 43 reviewers
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  1. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or butter or non-stick spray.
  2. Stir milk, brown sugar and butter together in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
  4. Remove from heat and use a hand mixer to beat in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and walnuts. Beat until just thickened.
  5. Pour/transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and let cool until set.
  6. When ready to serve, slice into squares and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Grandma's Vintage Recipes

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