Pralines

In the spirit of all things New Orleans… a Decatur Street favorite… mmm, I can smell ’em! The PRAH-leen (say PRAY-leen and die!). A perfect praline is crystalline in texture (it’s the sugar!) and creamy on the tongue almost like an overcooked caramel. While these aren’t hard to make, they can be testy if not watched… it’s easy to burn them if left alone. Get yourself a good candy thermometer and let’s make some…

Pralines

Ingredients:

1 pound light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups pecan halves

Mix the sugar, salt, milk and butter in a pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves in the evaporated milk. Add the pecans and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it reaches the soft ball stage (234-240 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat. It will continue to cook off the heat, let it cook for a few minutes (about 2), then quickly stir until the mixture begins to thicken. It will lightly coat the pecans at this point and look similar to dulce de leche (a close cousin!). Drop by tablespoons onto parchment paper. When the pralines have cooled, gently lift from the surface with a knife and store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen.

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Cinnamon Pecans

In Urbana, we used to visit the Farmer’s Market fairly regularly and look for a stand of Amish farmers who sold various baked goods and candies. The one treat that they made that was almost always sold out by the time we got there was their candied pecans. It was a great day when we could find them. This is about as close as I can find… the Amish pecans are a little sweeter, but this recipe is very close.

Cinnamon Pecans

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Moderate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes

2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound pecans

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Beat egg whites foamy but not stiff. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in 1 pound pecan halves. Spread on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, Stirring 3 or 4 times.

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