Monday, November 26, 2007

New Orleans Pralines


1- 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup + 2 T. Half and Half cream

1/2 stick butter

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla



Combine all ingredients except the pecans and vanilla in a heavy saucepan.

Mixture will be thick. Stir until it comes to a boil, then turn heat down to a low boil. Stir occasionally; spoon mixture up on sides of pan to melt any sugar that hasn't melted.

Cook until the mixture reaches 239 degrees with a candy thermometer. If you don't have a candy thermometer, bring it to the soft ball stage.

Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and the pecans. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken and becomes creamy and cloudy. Spoon onto waxed paper to harden.

What usually happens is that by the time the mixture turns cloudy, signaling that it is time to drop onto the waxed paper, it starts hardening too fast to drop correctly. You should then stir in about 1 - 2 tablespoons of warm water to thin the mixture. Don't add too much - just enough to make the spoonfuls drop and settle in a "puddle". You don't want them to look like chunks of rocks.

If cooked to the correct temperature, it won't take a minute to harden by stirring. If you don't cook them long enough, they remain "sticky" and never become firm. They should be firm, yet creamy. If you don't eat them all the first day , wrap them individually and store them in an airtight container.

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