Can you believe Christmas is less than 3 weeks away?!? Are you ready? We're somewhat ready...we've had 3 bouts of strep throat since November, 2 of which were me, so when the mama is sick, things tend to fall behind, you know? Anyway, while the gifts are ordered, none have arrived. The husband and son have requested that we bake & decorate sugar cookies, but we've not gotten to that. The plan is to make them the week before Christmas, since I'm taking the week off. Andrew's birthday is next week, and I'm happy to say that while I know I can make his cake, I chose to give myself a break and order from my favorite bakery, instead. I only feel a little guilty, but I think he and the husband deserve a non-stressed mama/wife rather than a crazy and harried one. But, it is the season of treats & goodies, so, I'm choosing to make treats that require little of my time, like these terrific pralines. Now, I'm constantly tweaking my praline recipe - the ratio of brown sugar to granulated, whether to use heavy cream, half & half, milk, evaporated milk, or buttermilk, cooking the pecans in the sugar or toasting them before. I'm really happy with this version, but if you're interested in one of my earlier version, click here.
If you're a little hesitant to make pralines, I'm here to say that I used to be hesitant, too. But, if you arm yourself with the right equipment, have your ingredients at the ready, and dedicate an hour of your time to these delicious treats, you'll be so glad you did. When I brought these to work, I had an office of very happy ladies!
- Candy thermometer, no question
- Tall pot with a handle
- Cooking spoon (I prefer a wooden spoon)
- Parchment paper
- 2 small spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- 1 lb pecans, pieces or whole (you can use less, I prefer more nuts to candy, but you can use as little as 2 cups)
- Vanilla, pre-measured
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup buttermilk
1 lb pecans (pieces or whole, if you like more candy than nut, use less pecans)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (measure before you begin)
Prepare your area by laying newspaper onto a table or counter.
Place sheets of parchment on the newspaper (if you have cats, lock them in the laundry room).
Combine sugars, light corn syrup, and the stick of butter in your pot.
Turn heat to medium-high and cook until butter has melted.
Carefully pour in buttermilk and salt, stir until combined.
Stir in pecans and secure candy thermometer to your pot.
With one hand holding the pot handle, stir the praline mixture frequently.
Be careful - this is sugar napalm.
Cook over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 235 degrees.
Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir until the mixture looses its sheen, about 2 minutes.
Immediately scoop candy onto parchment using small spoons.
Allow candy to harden.
Store in a covered container, if stacking, separate with sheet of parchment or wax paper.