New Orleans Pralines
This candy is an old New Orleans favorite.
Be sure the nuts are at room temperature,
or slightly warm, when you stir them
into the sugar syrup. If they are cold,
they will cool down the syrup and the
candy will harden too quickly.
1-1/2-cup granulated sugar
3/4-cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2-teaspoons vanilla extract
1-cup coarsely chopped pecans
Line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly butter the foil. Set aside.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, milk, brown sugar,butter and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar.
(Avoid spashing praline mixture on the sides of the saucepan.)
Boil for 3 minutes. If using a candy thermometer, clip to the side of the saucepan, making sure the bulb is immersed, but not touching the bottom of the pan.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, to 240 degrees on the candy thermometer, soft stage,15 to 18 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the pecans. Stir vigorously with the wooden spoon until mixture is slightly thick, starting to look a little cloudy, and the pecans float in the candy mixture. About 4 to 5 minutes.
Working quickly, drop by teaspoonsful onto the prepared foil, spreading each to about 1-1/2 inches.
If the mixture becomes stiff, you can stir in just alittle very hot water, a few drops at a time, until the consistency softens.
Cool 30 minutes or until the pralines are firm and no longer glossy.
To store, wrap each praline in a piece of plastic wrap.
Makes about 32 pieces.