Y’all! I am so glad I chose New Orleans as my inspiration for February. All I can say is Pralines. If you’ve never been to New Orleans or tasted these yummy candies, then you are in for an amazing treat. I think the original praline was brought over from France to New Orleans, but the pecan filled candy goodness that you can buy on almost every street corner now is N’awlins’ very own brand of awesome.
I had so much fun making these, and even though they seem like they might be scary to make (candy making seems scary, right?), don’t be scared. This recipe is relatively easy, and the whole process from start to finish takes less than an hour.
+ 2 cups pecan halves
+ 3 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I used a blend of light and dark because that’s what I had on me)
+ 1 cup heavy whipping cream
+ 1/4 cup butter
+ 2 tablespoons of Karo (light corn syrup)
+ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ Parchment paper (I prefer parchment to wax paper, but I’m sure wax would work too)
+ 1/4 cup of Bourbon (I used Bulliet)
> bonus: cute paper or wrapping to wrap each praline individually.
> extra bonus: a candy thermometer. I own no such thing, so I just guessed on timing (thoughts below)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then bake pecans in a pan for 5 minutes. Cool Completely. WARNING: I tried to do this and burnt my first batch and had to walk to the market to get more pecans. Learn from my mistake. Keep an eye on those beauties.
Step 2: While the pecans are toasting, bring brown sugar, whipping cream, butter, Karo & bourbon to boil in a large pot (I used our le creuset) over medium heat. Once boiling, stir constantly for about 7-10 minutes and then remove from heat. If you’ve got a candy thermometer, you want to boil until you get the temp to 236 degrees.
Step 3: Let mixture stand for 20-25 minutes (or until it cools to 150 degrees). Stir in vanilla and pecans using a wooden spoon; stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper.
Step 4: Wait for desired hardness to eat! These were edible (although messy) as soon as about 20-30 minutes after dropping, but the real key was to let them set overnight. The next morning they were just the right consistency!
Step 5: Enjoy the heck out of these!
They are so delicious. I was obviously really happy with how they turned out. I took the extras into the office, and everyone absolutely loved them. These are definitely going to be my new go-to treat to bring to parties or to spruce up a dinner party at home.