Gooey-soft and delicious, this confection was a rare treat while growing up in my household. Rare, soft squares of penuchi were doled out from each sugar-laden batch and treasured, nibble by nibble, until gone. Now, as an adult, the kitchen, the recipe, and the ingredients are available to me... and to you, the reader.

Recipes across the Internet seem to cite nuts as a main component, but the penuchi of my youth had no nuts. The ingredients are as follows:

1/2 cup condensed milk
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the milk and sugar over low heat, whisking until the sugar and milk are combined and the sugar has dissolved into the milk. Add the butter and vanilla; continue mixing slowly until creamy and smooth. Pour into a thin layer at the bottom of a pan or Corningware dish and chill until hardened or until your lust for sugar drives you to it with a spoon.

Penuchi may also be used as a delicious cake frosting, if you can stave off the cravings. It works well on vanilla cake, carrot cake, and almost anything else you can think to smear it on.

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