New Orleans Pralines

New Orleans is an extraordinary place with ah-MAZing food! Among the culinary treats we sampled on a recent trip – gumbo, jambalaya, a few variety of oysters, king cake, and beignets – pralines stood out as an addictively sweet, sugary delight uncommon in the Midwest. Fortunately, they’re pretty simple to make at home! The only trick is to make small batches, as the cooked praline mixture sets up very fast when removed from heat. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Makes a dozen pralines)

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons real butter

1/4 cup evaporated milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped, salted pecans

Directions

If you have a silicone mat (such as for making macarons), place it on a baking sheet. If not, simply line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Cook brown sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches the soft ball candy stage (240 degrees F on a candy thermometer).

Remove mixture from heat. Drop butter into pan and let it sit for about 30 seconds.

After 30 seconds (no longer), quickly add vanilla extract and pecans on top of the butter. Stir together quickly and, also quickly, drop tablespoons of praline mixture (as if you were making cookies) onto the prepared baking sheet. The mixture in the saucepan will firm up quickly, so you will need to be fast!

Once the mixture is dropped onto the baking sheet, simply let the baking sheet sit until the pralines are firm (approximately 20 minutes). Enjoy!

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