I LOVE salty food, but sometimes I just need a little something sweet. Since pecans are one of my favorites, this treat paired with a glass of milk does the trick and fulfills my sweets cravings. Luckily, pralines are about the easiest things to make and are the perfect holiday gift. You can wrap them up in tins, bring them in for a work holiday function and serve them all holiday long.
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups packed brown sugar (light or dark which ever you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup (whole) – note: I like this dessert to be light on pecans, but often you see them with more. If you love pecans, use 2.5 cups.
½ stick salted butter
Candy thermometer (is preferred)
Prepare a cookie sheet by covering with parchment or wax paper. Combine brown sugar, butter and cream in medium heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved. Keep a watchful eye to ensure your sugar does not burn (you can smell this and it will begin sticking to the bottom if it is burning. If you burn, don’t worry. Just start over). The mix (candy) should reach 240 degrees (use thermometer to gauge). If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can dip a spoon in the mix and drop it in a cup of water. If it floats and is goopy, you are at what is called, soft ball stage and this is perfect.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Continue to stir until mixture thickens and becomes opaque (takes seconds).
You have two options now, you can stir in all pecans and spoon out the mixture to your covered cookie sheet, or spoon the mixture on the prepared sheet and add a pecan or two to the top.
Allow to cool completely at room temperature before removing from parchment paper. The pralines will look glossy until completely cooled and even after that they should sit for an hour.