1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
dash of salt
2 tbsp butter flavored shortening
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Lightly grease an 8-inch loaf pan; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cream, and salt. Heat to boiling, over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cover and boil for 1 minute. Remove lid. Insert candy thermometer and cook over medium heat, without stirring, until temperature reaches 236 degrees. Remove from heat.
Add the shortening but do not stir. Cool, undisturbed, until temperature is lowered to 120 degrees. Add the vanilla and beat vigorously until mixture starts to thicken and loses its sheen. Stir in pecans. Spread in the prepared pan. Cut into 1-inch squares. Cool until firm.
Note: Make orange-flavored penuche by adding 1 tablespoon grated orange rind when you add the shortening.