Everyone knows New Orleans is famous for its Pralines, which they pronounce “praw-leens”. How about trying this amazing New Orleans Pralines-Recipe?
If you say “pray-leens”, everyone will know that you are not from the New Orleans area. Pralines are a candy made with milk and sugar and cooked to a soft ball stage at 240 degrees F. Pralines are a sweet, creamy, confectionary treat. The six years that we lived on the northshore of New Orleans inspired me to learn everything I could about cooking the wonderful foods that New Orleans is famous for. This includes Pralines, Beignets, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, White Chocolate Creme Brulee, King Cake, BBQ Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Crab Bisque, and much more. I still have a long way to improve on some of these things, but I love to practice. My family does not mind me practicing either.
I make this New Orleans Pralines Recipe every year at Christmas time. I normally drop them by large tablespoons full onto parchment paper to harden. This time I dropped my Pralines into cupcake tins using my ice cream scoop. They turned out perfectly round. The ice cream scoop was much easier to use, but the pralines turned out a little thick. Next time, I will still use the ice cream scoop and the cupcake tins, but I will only fill the scoop half full.
The New Orleans Pralines-Recipe below were dropped onto parchment papper.
Praline Recipe – Adapted from New Orleans Classic Desserts by Kit Wohl.
- 2-1/2 cups whole milk
- 2-1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2-1/2 cups sugar
- 2-1/2 cups pecans, lightly chopped
- ½ stick real butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR 2 teaspoons maple extract (maple extract is extremely good)
- pinch salt
- Warm milk in a cast-iron dutch oven or a large pot.
- Add sugar, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt.
- Cook until it reaches 240 degrees "soft-ball stage". A good way to text “soft-ball” stage without a thermometer is to drop a small amount, couple of drops of the candy, into cold water it will form a soft ball.
- Stir almost constantly to prevent sticking and burning. If the candy burns, you have to start over. If you are using a thermometer attached to the side of the pot, make sure that it does not sit on the bottom of the pot. You will not get a correct reading.
- Once the candy reaches 240 degrees, remove from the heat.
- Next, add the butter, extract, and pecans.
- Allow the candy to sit for 10 minutes before stirring these ingredients in.
- Next, stir the candy about 100 strokes to incorporate the pecans.
- Spoon the candy about 1 to 2 TB size onto a sheet of wax paper or parchment papper.
- Allow them to cool and dry.
- Then, carefully turn them over to dry the other side.
- Store them in an air tight container or wrap each one in plastic wrap. You can layer them in a plastic container with parchment paper or wax paper between them and freeze them.
- They will last for months in the freezer.
Pralines have become one of our family’s favorite Christmas candies.
I love to break them up and layer them in my banana pudding. I also love to add Pralines to top off cheesecake or most any other dessert for a pretty presentation. The other way we like to eat them is to crumble some in a bowl of ice cream. They really kick up any dessert. The secret to making great Pralines is using a cast-iron pot. You know I love my cast-iron cookware. It is not just for your grandma to use or for the rugged outdoors. I use my cast-iron cookware almost daily, especially during the winter months when I make Christmas candies and soups.
*Please be extremely careful when cooking candy. It can be really dangerous if it gets on your skin. It is a great idea to keep children and animals out of the kitchen while cooking candy.