If there’s anything my children learned from living in Louisiana, it’s to appreciate the food! From seafood to fried favorites to anything made with pecans, they love it to this day.
With the recent start of school, I let each of my children pick an afternoon snack they wanted me to make on the day of their choice. One son requested I make these incredible glazed donut holes while my daughter decided on pecan pralines. (Child #1 is still deciding on his choice!)
These pecan pralines are my favorite, too, as they are creamy, sweet and just the right balance of Louisiana goodness.
The recipe is easy, but don’t try to make these on a humid or cloudy day, as they might not set and you’ll end up with something chewy like taffy. I say August – December are the perfect months, but I would never hesitate to try them in April, either. (Just wait for a nice sunny day!)
Pecan Praline Recipe
3 cups white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 stick (or 4 tablespoons) margarine
2 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
In a heavy pot, on medium heat, combine all ingredients, except for the vanilla. This would be a good time to add the candy thermometer to your pot, too.
Cook the mixture until you get to 130 degrees Celsius on the thermometer, stirring often. (Don’t let it stick to the bottom!) You want to reach a firm, soft ball stage. Once you get to 125 or 130 degrees, you can test the mixture by dropping a drop of candy in a glass of cold water. If the candy forms a soft ball, you know you are close to perfect!
Lay a sheet of wax paper on your counter, shiny side up. (This recipe makes 25-30 pralines, so make sure you have enough paper out so you don’t have to stop once you turn off the fire.)
Once you reach 130 degrees, turn off the fire and add the vanilla, stirring until thick. The mixture will become thick, which is what you want! In fact, you want to keep stirring for about 3-4 minutes.
Drop by the spoonfuls onto the wax paper, being careful, as the mixture is super hot. You will want to work rather quickly as the candy will start to set and clump up.
Let the pralines set and cool for 10-15 minutes. At that time, you should be able to gently lift each one off of the paper. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.