Here in the United States, there seems to be some debate over the magnificent praline’s basic ingredients and texture. Not having a clue what a praline from the southern United States tastes like, I can’t fairly cast my vote for the best praline. Nor can I advise you on how to pronounce it… (praw-leen or pray-leen?) But I will provide one yummy version, and let you settle on the rest. I think these are fantastic… whether they are authentic or not.
These pralines will take you over the top with sweetness. So, prepare for a toothache if you over-indulge. They are creamy and dissolve upon bite, with a touch of sugary grainy texture to finish them off.
When I was a kid, I had a bad habit of eating brown sugar straight from the bag. These remind me of that, but with a nice touch of pecan mixed in. Simply irresistible.
Toast the pecans (this step is optional) in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until they fill you kitchen with toasted pecan smell.
Prepare a cookie sheet by lightly greasing with margarine, or by lining with wax paper or a silicon mat. Set aside. Also, grab a large spoon, or 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop the praline mixture onto surface when ready. Get your candy thermometer ready, but don’t yet clip to your pan.
Combine all ingredients into a fairly heavy sided saucepan.
Once sugar has dissolved completely, use your spoon and get any left over sugar particles off of the side of the saucepan and incorporated back into the dissolved mixture. Rinse your spoon to also remove any straggling sugar crystals from getting into your mixture.
Next, clip on your candy thermometer. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture reaches 235 degrees on your candy thermometer. Also, you can drop a bit into super cold water and it should form a soft flexible ball:
Remove the mixture from the stove-top immediately after it reaches the proper temperature. It will be amber colored and runny at this point. Stir vigorously for about 1-2 minutes, until mixture turns matte (loses its sheen) and starts to separate from the pot. I always stir while holding the pot in the air… and moving around slightly to incorporate the cooler temperature of the air into the sugar mixture.
It will be pretty thick at this point, and definitely will have lightened up in color. Quickly drop by spoonfuls onto lightly greased surface or silicon baking mat.
Let cool until hard… and enjoy!