Arguably the most Southern of candies, pecan-filled pralines are both crunchy, creamy and perfectly sweet, making them absolutely irresistible.
Dating back to the 1750, pralines were first made by the French with almonds and white sugar. The Creoles of New Orleans soon found a superior alternative, using pecans and brown sugar instead. Today, it is considered a staple of Southern candies. And, undeniably one of my very favorites.
Pralines are also the perfect treat for the summer, because they take minimal effort and time. Try them when they are still warm — the brown sugar dissolves right on your tongue and melts in your mouth.
Yield: about 10 servings
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, chopped
- Extra pecan halves for decoration
How to cook Pralines
- Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Put the sugars, salt, corn syrup, milk, and butter in saucepan. Over medium heat, stir mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until sugars have dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook to a soft ball stage, approximately 236 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and nuts, and beat with a spoon by hand for 2 minutes or until candy is slightly thick and begins to lose its shininess. Quickly drop heaping tablespoons onto waxed paper. Press extra pecan halves in center of candy.
Sprinkle the tops of the moist pralines with sea salt before they harden for a pleasant sweet and salty combination. Enjoy!
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