We just got back from a trip down south. It was lovely, warm and beachy! Good times were had by all.
However, an interesting phenomenon occurred during this trip that had me wondering if I was losing it.
My brain became quite, how do I put this....soft. It rested, very comfortably, and did not function as sharply as I would have liked. It just wanted to get up late, go to the pool or beach, eat, go exploring and sleep. That's it. Nothing the least bit rigorous or challenging.
I guess I could explain this brain drain thing as me thoroughly enjoying vacation and giving my noggin a break. Or it could have been the incredible humidity that took the shine out of my senses. Whatever it was, it suited me just fine while I was away.
Now that we're home, things have sharpened up. Which is good because I need my wits about me when making Pecan Pralines. These sweet morsels are a southern delicacy which I have loved since I was a young'en. Pecans, sugar, cream and a bit of your time is all you need for a virtual quick trip south in your mind and on your tastebuds - no brain drain included!
Here's our recipe:
(makes about 3 dozen)
3 C brown sugar
1 C heavy cream
2 T butter
1/2 t salt
2 C toasted, chopped pecans
1/4 C cubed butter
1 1/2 t vanilla
To start, combine the brown sugar, heavy cream, 2 T of butter and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring ingredients to a boil while stirring. Cook until the candy thermometer reaches 230℉.
Once you've reached this point, carefully add your chopped pecans and cubed butter. Stir mixture occasionally and allow the temperature of the mixture to reach 236℉ (soft ball stage).
Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in your vanilla. Continue to stir your candy mixture until it begins to thicken and the sheen, or glossiness, of the mixture begins to dull (It took my mixture 4 minutes to reach this state).
Now, drop heaping tablespoons of the the candy mixture onto a parchment covered cookie sheet. Let the candy cool until set.
Pralines can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week. Good luck keeping them around that long. Enjoy!