Holiday Treats, Part II

…and a side of insulin.

I’ll continue to post about pralines every year because they really are one of my favorite things of the season. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until I have my first bite. After my 20th bite, it just feels like I need a nap.

Creamy Pralines

After making several batches of these in one weekend, I have a few tips to ensure success. First, spray the waxed paper very well; these are sticky suckers that need the lubrication. Second, don’t bother with the candy thermometer until about 5 minutes after you’ve added the pecans; it really just gets in the way and the mixture won’t come up to temperature before that. Third, after you’ve added the vanilla extract, beat the praline batter vigorously until it really begins to thicken and your arm is getting tired. If you spoon them out too soon, they’ll spread too much, which leads to thin pralines that take up far too much counter space.

2 cups white sugar
1 stick butter
16 large marshmallows
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
finishing salt

Cook sugar, butter, marshmallows, and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly until all ingredients are melted, then add pecans. Cook, stirring constantly, to soft ball stage, 235-240 degrees F. (I always go to 240 degrees. The end result is much better at the higher end of the range.) Remove from burner. Add vanilla and beat until mixture thickens. Drop by tablespoon or two onto greased waxed paper. While still hot, sprinkle with finishing salt.

Yield: 48 small pralines or 15 large.

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10 Replies to “Holiday Treats, Part II”

  1. Awesome recipe. I am awed at the skill involved. Is it really doable for people who’ve never made candy before?

  2. Oh, they’re absolutely doable! I’m no whiz at working with sugar, believe me.

    The marshmallows and milk make the pralines much easier to handle than any straight-sugar candy. Just make sure you heat the mixture to 240 degrees and stir (and stir and stir) at the end of the cooking time until the mixture’s thick enough to hold its shape when you spoon them out. (And even if the pralines are a little runny and unattractive, they’ll still taste fine. More for you!)

  3. These look delicious– have you tried adding rum or whiskey to this recipe? If so, how much do you add?

  4. That sounds delicious, but I haven’t tried it since I don’t know enough about candy-making to veer from the recipe. But I do make my own vanilla extract with a rum base (from this recipe), so I guess they do have a small amount of rum in them…you could always try the same with whiskey.

  5. Eddie, don’t let the date stop you! Pralines are great anytime!

    Damaris, thank you so much! I hope you get to try them (and like them). 🙂

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