I’ve been going through some old papers and found an undated hand-written note. It was my own writing, appearing hastily written, and only labeled, “Mamom’s Praline”. I’m not sure which grandmother gave me this recipe. Correction : she probably rattled it off and I quickly jotted it down. Sadly, I cannot give credit where it is due; both my grandmothers were wonderful cooks. I did have the opportunity to often watch them prepare delicious foods. Neither used much in the way of measuring cups or spoons, or even resorting to a written recipe. No, it was all tucked away in their heads.
There is a recipe in our family that my aunt has and I’d love to find the copy that was given to me, but it’s much more “marshmallow-y” than this one. It’s also delicious. Maybe I’ll ask my sister for a copy..
In any case, this is a true, authentic recipe for “Praline”, aka, sweet perfection.
3 cups pecans – more or less, halves are good. Be sure to clean them. (NOTE: no shells)
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 stick butter (she said “oleo”)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract – more or less. (NOTE: guess this runs in the family)
Cook the sugar, milk, whipping cream, baking soda and salt. Cook slowly for about 20 minutes. (NOTE: I must have brought a thermometer for my cooking lesson, because I scrawled “about 235 degrees”. Also, lots of underlining on the word “slowly”, so it must have been heavily stressed. According to my candy thermometer, that’s the “soft ball” stage, when if you drop a little into water it’ll form a soft ball.)
Remove from heat. (NOTE: Work quickly at this point as the candy hardens fast and you’ll have a lot of candy stuck to your spoon.)
Add butter, the pecans, and vanilla extract. Quickly drop by tablespoonfuls unto waxed paper.
Each praline should have the size of about 2 inches in diameter by 1/2 inch thick.
Lagniappe (a little extra): It’s best to make this candy on a nice day. Humidity wrecks havoc with it otherwise.