Essentially pralines are a sort of rustic, caramel based fudge, mixed with pecans and set into disks. They are absolutely delicious as a sweet snack but, made smaller, could even be used as canapes!
Give them a try - uber easy - and bring a touch of Creole flavour to your life!
Recipe courtesy of the New Orleans School of Cookery.
Ingredients (Makes about 1-50 pralines, depending on size):
1.5 cups white sugar
0.75 cups light brown sugar
0.5 cup milk
6 tbsp butter
1.5 cup pecans, lightly toasted (bake at about 140 Celsius on a tray for about 20 minutes until fragrant and browned)
1 tsp vanilla extract - use good quality - no essence!
1. In a saucepan melt the butter. Once melted add the milk and vanilla. Stir to combine.
2. Add the sugars and the pecans. Using a wooden spoon (don't use metal; it conducts heat too easily and can cause the caramel to harden/be ruined), stir it in.
3. Continue to stir constantly, never leaving it, until the mixture comes to a 'soft ball stage' - this means that when a teaspoon of it is dropped into cold water, if forms a soft ball in the water. Or, more easily, use a sugar thermometer and wait until it reaches 238-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Remove it from the heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens, becomes creamy and a little cloudier and until you can feel sugar crystals starting to form on the sides of the pan. The spoon should make a bit of a rasping sound on the side, brushing against them.
5. Using a spoon (size depending on the size of pralines desired!), spoon portions of it out onto oiled baking paper and set down in a circle shape. Leave to cool, until room temperature and crisp. Serve. These will keep for around 3 days. Delicious.