Have you ever tried to make Pecan Pralines? If you listen to folks that make them, you may think, “I can do that, it’s not much to it”.
Well, let me tell you. The receipt is simple and all you need is a large pot (4qt saucepan) and a large spoon (wooden), measuring cup and teaspoon. A candy thermometer is recommended and wax paper.
Let’s go back a little. The first thing I did was, go out on the INTERNET and read several receipts. Many photos and various techniques are there for telling when to “drop” the candy (take it out of the pot). They all stress putting all your necessary items out so you don’t have to look for anything, especially when it is time to drop the candy (the first time, I forgot to lay out my wax paper and my candy cooked too long).
At this point, I have tried 4 receipts and made several tries at making Pralines. The first batch got as hard as a brick before I could get them out of the pot. One batch yielded about 30 pieces and only the last 4 got hard. So far non of them tasted like I wanted them to taste. So far I had not used a candy thermometer.
You are suppose to bring the candy to a boil, over med. heat and then let it get up to 234 degrees F. Well, let me tell you, that is not as easy as it sounds. By now I am on my third receipt and have studied at least two You Tube video’s. My arm is tired from all the stirring and I am tired of cleaning the pot to start over. Two or three days have passed by now.
Anyway, I have my sugar, milk, butter and vanilla extract in the pot, pecans are standing by, and it starts to boil. The temp. is about 215 degrees F or so and going up. The temp. gets up to 230 degrees F and just sits there. I keep stirring and looking for something that looks like a “soft ball”. I am also waiting on, “the pot to talk to me”? (One cook says, The pot will tell you when it is time to drop the candy) All of these helpful hints are in the various receipts that I have read or watched movies on You Tube. The temp. creeps up to 232 degrees F and just will not get to 234. I turned up the heat and hot sugar, milk and butter start to pop out of the pot! The temp is still at 232 degrees F. Now I see a slight glisten in the middle of the pot that I am franticly stirring (after lowering the heat back to a safe level. Oops! I forgot the pecans!, In they go, and I stir a little more. I’m going to drop my candy now! (never made it to 234 degrees F)
Well, this batch looks like the photo and it did get hard when it cooled down. The taste was, well, not that bad, but it could have been a little more creamy. Barbara said they were too hard after cooling. After making a couple of batches that never got hard at all, I was happy.
I gave these to the members at Bracket Masters Racing Team’s meeting last Sunday. Out of 9 people, two said they were good! I’ll take that.
I will try again. Maybe I will use Condensed milk or whole milk or evaporated milk or half & half. I may use only white sugar or mix white sugary and light brown sugar. Maybe I will not use any vanilla extract, add some salt or use salted butter instead of unsalted butter. All of these variations are present in the different receipts for Pecan Pralines. No wonder I am having such a hard time.
To sum it up, each cook I ask, has a different method and little tricks for their special way of making Pecan Pralines. I will try again for the Super Bowl, but I will do some ribs on the grill for backup! Go Panthers!