Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Creamy Pecan Pralines

My mother-in-law taught me how to make her popular Creamy Pecan Pralines a couple years ago (i feel OFFICIALLY part of the family now lol). I will tell you like she told me......CPP is about technique not recipe. I will do my best to explain:Add to a pan:
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter (not margarine)
2 cups sugar
2 Tblsp Karo light syrup

Stir and bring to a rolling boil. Cook at this rate for 30-40 minutes, stirring constantly. It should begin to look like this:Now here is where the technique comes in......

At about 30-35 minutes, I drop a small bit of the mixture into a bit of cold water. Pour the water off and if it makes a ball, you're ready to add the pecans. If it still runny, let it cook a few minutes more and try the water test again. Usually around 38-40 minutes I am ready to add my pecans. At this point you need about 6 inches of cold water in the sink. Add 2 heaping cups of whole pecans and stir gently. Try not to break the pecans up because it just makes prettier pralines when the pecans are whole (and that is MIL speaking again, not me).

Sit your pan in the sink of cool water and begin to stir gently. Scrape the sides and bottom making sure that the candy covers the pecans. As it cools, it will stick to the pecans and get thick.
When it is almost too thick to stir, start spooning out the pralines onto wax paper. The candy should NOT run off of the pecans when you spoon it out. I use 2 spoons. One to scoop and one to scrape. (please ignore the winter medical supply)

The first pralines will be smooth and shiny. The last few will start to be rough and .....well..... not shiny. This is natural as it cools more toward the end and as I tell my kids sometimes, "just because!!". Let the pralines set until cooled and then feast! I have never had pralines like this in my life. If the timing is right on each step, the sugar will be smooth and creamy (hence the name). Every praline that I had ever eaten before these were more grainy. This recipe should yield 12-14 pralines depending on how big you scoop them out. Let me know how yours come out!

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