When Husband's maternal grandmother was alive, she would make pralines every Christmas. Christmas was not Christmas until the pralines were made. They were the best. I asked her one year if she would show me her secrets to making these lovely little delicacies. Her answer, 'ah, there's nothing hard about making them, you just have to have the right pot'.
You may be thinking, what's the right pot? For Dudie, as we all called her, it was this pot, with all its dings and pits.
I love this pot. It reminds me of this wonderfully talented woman. Since this pot is one of a kind, any heavy pot should do the trick.
With the inheritance of the pot, the making of Christmas pralines fell on me. I've worked at perfecting my lesson on praline making, Father-in-law says I've got it down, Husband says I'm almost there.
I like what FNL says.
There's not much to making the pralines. Lemme show you.
Sugar, half and half, Karo syrup, baking soda, pecans (do you say pee-cans or pah-cons)
some of this
Dudie's recepie called for milk but since I drink skim, I figured half and half would make for a richer candy.
Along with the pot you'll need one of these
a candy thermometer.
Dudie used to do the drop-some-of-the-mixture-in-a-glass-of-water method and if it formed a ball was at the soft ball stage...I don't trust my skills so I rely on a thermometer.
Here's how you make them.
Put the sugar in the pot.
Add the half and half,
and baking soda.
Stir over medium-medium high heat until the mixture begins to boil.
Insert the thermometer. Make sure it doesn't touch the bottom of the pot, bad things will happen if it does.
Turn down the heat to low and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more.
While you wait, put some wax paper on the counter or use some of this
I prefer the aluminum foil, the pralines seem to come off more cleanly and easily.
As the mixture simmers it will get foamy, turn a golden tan, and rise to the point that you think it's going to boil over. I haven't had that happen, yet. Keep an eye on it though, just to make sure you won't have a gooey, sticky mess to clean up.
Just when you think you can't wait one more second, this will happen
Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter and vanilla.
Stir until the mixture becomes glossy; it doesn't take long, maybe three minutes.
At this point add the pecans and stir to coat the pecans completely. Continue to stir to cool the mixture slightly.
Now comes the part where you have to work quickly. If you don't, you'll have on ginormous praline, which wouldn't be all bad, you'd just have to chop off what you wanted to eat rather than having handy, portable pralines.
Use two spoons, one to scoop the other to scrape...don't try scraping with your fingers, you'll regret it.
Scoop a spoonful of the mixture, scrape it off with the other spoon and place it onto the foil or wax paper.
The number of pralines you get from one batch depends on how big you make each praline. I got about twenty this go round.
Here's the recipe, if you'd like to try them.
2 c. sugar
1 c. half and half or milk
3 TB Karo syrup
1/8 tsp. baking soda
2 TB unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2-2 1/2 cups broken pecans
Combine the first four ingredients. Stir till boiling begins, turn down heat to simmer. Continue to simmer until candy thermometer reaches 'soft ball' stage.
Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla. Beat until glossy, add pecans and stir to throughly cover the pecans. Continue to stir until slightly cool.
Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto wax paper.
What's your favorite candy to make?