New Orleans Pralines Recipe
Laissez les bon temps rouler, y’all! One week from today is Mardi Gras! In honor of this festive occasion, I am posting something Mardi-Gras-or-New-Orleans-related every day this week! And DON’T FORGET OUR FEBRUARY FEVER GIVEAWAY! You could win some cool stuff for just leaving a comment! Check it out!
Today: Pralines! In some parts of the country, they call these sugary, pecan-laden confections “PRAY-leens” but in New Orleans, we pronounce it “prah-LEENS”, with the emphasis on the second syllable, and the first syllable all drawn out like you’re sitting in the sunshine, drinking your fourth beer. However you choose to say it, pralines are a New Orleans staple food, right up there with po’ boys and jambalaya. In fact, one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon is to walk around the French Quarter, barefoot, with a praline in one hand and a cold beer in the other. Mmm-mmm. Heaven.
I made pralines the other night, in preparation for a Superbowl party. (Can I please just say it again? WHO DAT?!)
Click “More” for the recipe and pictures. It can easily be doubled.
New Orleans Pralines
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 c. pecans (you can use other nuts, but why would you want to?)
dash of salt
First, lay out several sheets of wax paper on the counter. It helps to wipe the counter down first with a damp rag- this makes the paper stick flat. Then spray the paper with cooking spray. Next, combine all ingredients except for nuts in a heavy saucepan. Boil gently over medium heat until soft ball forms in cold water or until 236° on your candy thermometer. Remove from heat, add nuts and beat until creamy. Here’s where it gets kind-of tricky if you’ve never done it before. You want to add the nuts and then stir with a wooden spoon like a maniac (your arm might get a little tired- keep going, it’s worth it). It helps if your nuts are refrigerated- this cools the candy down faster. After a few minutes, the candy mixture will start to look a little foggy. When you can feel it beginning to stiffen up but it’s still liquid-y, start spooning it onto the paper in little puddles. You have to go really fast now because the candy will harden up quick. You really have to slop it out now- neatness, in this case, counts AGAINST you. But if it hardens up in the pan before you get it all spooned out, don’t worry- you can stick it back on the heat and do it all over again. Wait until the pralines are stiff before moving the paper. Also, it helps if you do this on a dry day. Humidity can jack with the hardening process.
The best part about making pralines? Sucking on the the praline spoon.