Pralines are another favorite southern candy. They are not hard to make but they are a little tricky. If the mixture gets too hot your pralines will be dry and crumbly but if it’s not cooked long enough they will be runny and sticky. So, if you haven’t ever made them before, it will take a little practice to get the hang of it. (Oh, and your arm will get a workout because you will stir for around 45 minutes!) Believe me, its worth it!
There are so many ways to make pralines…brown sugar, white sugar, a little of both…regular milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, buttermilk, half and half…my mama has even used lactose free milk. Some people even add corn syrup but I’m not into that! There are creamy pralines, chewy pralines, and regular pralines, ones with pecans and ones without, brown pralines and white pralines…and flavors galore!
Around here we like to keep our pralines simple…four ingredients (five if you use pecans)! They are the original old fashioned white pralines flavored with a little vanilla! We make them every holiday season (and sometimes in-between just for the heck of it). My mama has always made them with and without pecans (because we like them both ways).
MAMA’S PECAN PRALINES
- 2 & 1/2 C. granulated sugar
- 1 C. evaporated milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 t. pure Mexican vanilla
- 1/2 C. chopped pecans optional
- Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until everything is melted, incorporated, and reaches softball stage on a candy thermometer (20-25 minutes). Make sure you stir around the inner edges of the pot too or you will get dark brown flecks in your candy.
- Turn off heat and continue to stir until it begins to thicken, around 175-200 degrees on a candy thermometer, and looses its gloss. This step will take about 15-20 minutes so be patient and don’t stop stirring.
- Add the vanilla and pecans, stirring to incorporate.
- Drop by the spoon full onto waxed paper. (Be sure you have this laid out ahead of time. Once the pralines are ready to spoon out they don’t take long to get too cool and will turn grainy! Be quick!)