Nana's Cuss Candy

Ali Williams

My Nana called this “Cuss Candy” because it is so difficult to make.  The conditions—humidity, temperature—have to be precise.  The ingredients have to be heated slowly and stirred constantly, and you have to work very quickly to add the last ingredients.  The candy also has to be beaten vigorously until it begins to stiffen.  All of this combines for some certain cussing.

I had never tried this candy until recently.  I had heard my family talk about it for years and was, of course, intrigued by the name, but I never tried to find out how to make it until I was given this assignment.  Unfortunately, nobody could really remember what was in it.

My search through Nana’s old recipes turned up no recipe for Cuss Candy.  After asking other family members, I found out that the candy had been called Aunt Belle’s Brown until Nana had given it this creative name.  I was then able to identify the recipe.

I found out through other family members that this same type of caramelized sugar candy is a very old Scottish recipe and is sold all over Scotland as Tablet.  Tablet is a precursor to today’s fudge, but its texture tends to be grainer and crumblier.  It is soft and has a very rich, caramel-like taste.

6 cups brown sugar
3 to 4 sticks butter
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Karo syrup

Combine brown sugar, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and salt in a pot.  (Do not use aluminum.)  Bring candy to a soft ball stage (approximately 235˚F).  Remove from heat.  Add butter, vanilla, and Karo syrup.  Beat until stiff.  Pour into buttered dish.  Cut into small squares when cooled.