National Pecan Day is upon us! Not to be confused with plain-old Pecan Day, which is in March, National Pecan Day is April 14. So I decided to make pralines.
I’m a big fan of them — I mean, they’re basically nuts encased in sugar, so what’s not to like? I used to live in Savannah, GA, and the Savannah Candy Kitchen was one of my favorite places to treat myself. They make pralines like you wouldn’t believe. The texture and flavor are perfection, and they’re a must-have for anyone visiting the city.
My parents actually went to Savannah recently, because my dad had a meeting to attend. They hadn’t been back since we all moved to New York in 2007, so it was an interesting walk down memory lane. Even though we generally were not happy living there, it’s still a lovely city to visit with some beautiful scenery, fun things to do, and plenty of charm.
All I asked was that they bring me back some pralines. My needs are simple.
Even though I paced myself and limited the amount I had at a time (that’s a lot of sugar, which can give me a headache), as I got closer to the end of the box, I wanted more. I considered ordering some, but they’re expensive, and come in a lot of wasteful packaging, so I looked into making them.
After looking over several recipes and their ratings and comments, I settled on this one.
It doesn’t call for any hard-to-find ingredients, just sugars (brown and white), vanilla, cream, butter, and pecans. The only thing I didn’t have was a candy thermometer, so I googled for how to tell the temperature of candy visually, and came across the cold water test.
It’s not a hard recipe to make, but you do have to be paying attention the whole time, so don’t try to multitask while you’re making these.
You have to pay close attention when you’re heating the mixture, and there’s a lot of stirring involved. You also have to keep track of the temperature, whether you’re using a thermometer or the cold water test.
You also have to act pretty fast when dropping the pralines onto parchment paper to dry, because the mixture still in the pan will start to cool and harden as you go. Definitely have the paper ready (more than you think you’ll need!) before you start.
In the end, you have a scrumptious batch of candy to eat. Mine turned out great! If I were going to do it again I’d buy a thermometer, but even without it, the texture and flavor are both excellent.