Thursday, January 9, 2014
My husband and I have loved pralines since the early 1970s when he first made them for me. Using a recipe called Praline Prize Winners from Farm Journal's Homemade Candy cookbook, he would sneak into the kitchen while I was curled up under a blanket during the cold Oklahoma winter, then bring me one fresh from the pan. Nothing said love to me quite like that warm sugary treat.
Through the years I have tried to emulate those early year pralines, but mine are never as good as his. He likes his pralines with that sugar gritty graininess , and I prefer mine lightly crunchy but smooth. I tried Homesick Texan's recipe in this post from my old blog and it was good but didn't quite hit the spot.
This past weekend I was craving creamy pralines so I pulled out the old Farm Journal cookbook. I decided to make Texas Pralines, which differ from that original recipe by the addition of corn syrup and a slightly different technique. I added Mexican vanilla and sprinkled with a little sea salt, and while I loved the flavor of these they were actually too creamy! They were perfect around the edges, but inside was a bit like frosting. I managed to put away several of them, but next time I will return to husband's original recipe. And let him make them!
adapted from Farm Journal's Homemade Candy
3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup half and half
3 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
1/3 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (I used Mexican vanilla)
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
Kosher or sea salt
Combine sugar, half-and-half, corn syrup, and butter in 3 quart heavy saucepan. Stir to combine; bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Cook to soft ball stage (238 degrees) and remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm (110 degrees) without stirring. Add vanilla and pecans and beat until mixture changes color and begins to thicken.
Quickly spoon heaping teaspoons onto waxed paper or parchment paper, making circles 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Makes about 24 pralines.