Monday, December 24, 2012

Old Fashioned Southern Pralines

Having lived in the South for quite a while now, I've had the chance to experience some excellent tasting pralines.  Whenever you walk into a candy shop in Charleston, Savannah, or other cities down here, they're always offering up a sample and I'm always willing to give them a taste.  The only down side to pralines is the fact that they're very expensive to purchase. 

Due to that fact, I've tried making them numerous times, using a variety of methods.  Some of the pralines have turned out, and some not so much.....instead I had a gooey, runny mess.  It wasn't until this past week though, that I finally found a recipe I loved!  Since then, I've followed this recipe 3 times, due to family requests, and I've also been asked, by friends, to please share it so that they could make a batch for the holidays.  That's when I decided to just share this recipe with everyone!  So here it might notice that there's nothing healthy about pralines, but that's ok it's just one reason you know they're delicious!

Happy Holidays!

Old Fashioned Southern Pralines

Makes about 20-50 pralines (depending on size)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ - 2 cups chopped pecans

On the counter, lay out a piece of parchment paper (this will be used later to put the pralines on to cool).  Tip: If you use wax paper, place something underneath so that the hot paper won’t stick to your counter.

Now, Place the sugars, heavy cream, butter and vanilla into a medium size sauce pan over medium heat.  Continuously stir the ingredients around until the mixture reaches the “soft ball stage” (238-240 degrees) on a candy read thermometer.  Once ready, immediately remove from heat.

Add in the pecans and continuously stir around until the mixture becomes creamy and cloudy in texture, the pecans start to stay suspended, and it begins to thicken a little (but not too much).  This process could take about 1-2 minutes, so don’t give up.  Once ready, drop the mixture by spoonful’s onto the prepared parchment paper.  Allow to cool completely. 

**For a different taste, feel free to add roasted pecans.  To make roasted pecans, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown and fragrant.** 

Source: Slightly adapted from Picky Palate originally from The New Orleans School of Cooking


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