Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Pecan pralines

Pecan pralines are well-known throughout New Orleans. Get a taste of the Big Easy with these no-bake confections!

My husband and I visited New Orleans over the summer for a few days. He and I are both members of a co-ed business fraternity (that's actually how we met) and we were in town for our bi-annual conference.

Everywhere we walked in the city, we saw shops selling pralines. Although I'm not a fan of nuts, I had to make an exception and try this famous New Orleans sweet. We tried no fewer than 5 different types, and each was creamy, sweet and very fudge-like.

When we returned home, I made it a mission to try making these on my own. The method is similar to making caramel, where you boil your ingredients until soft ball stage and then let them rest and harden. What was different about this recipe was that the pecans were thrown in at the beginning so they could caramelize as well.

While these pralines were pretty fantastic, they weren't as creamy and fudgy as the ones I tried in New Orleans. My mind is still thinking about the soft and chewy ones that contain cream and molasses, so I am hoping to find another recipe with those ingredients.

Regardless, my coworkers raved about these pralines and several asked for the recipe. My family and I all enjoyed these very much and foresee making these again in the future... maybe as holiday gifts!

Pecan pralines
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (12 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk of choice (whole is preferred, but I used 1%)
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) salted butter (if you use unsalted, you'll want to add a pinch of salt to the recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pecans - whole, chopped or roasted (totally up to you)
Directions
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside.

In a medium saucepan with high sides (preferably one that is at least 4 quarts in capacity), combine all of the ingredients over medium-high heat. Stir constantly and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Let the mixture reach 238-240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage).

Once the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, remove it from the stove and turn it off. Vigorously stir until the candy starts to become thick. Once it starts to look grainy, the pralines are ready to be dropped onto your prepared baking sheets.

Using either two greased spoons or a greased cookie scoop, drop the pralines onto your prepared baking sheet. Space them at least an inch apart.

Allow pralines to cool and harden, at least 10 minutes, before serving.

Pralines are best the day they are made but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield: About 24 pralines (more or less, depending upon how big you make yours)

Source: The Kitchn

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