Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Candy Time! How to make Pecan Pralines

A friend of mine recently returned from a trip where she visited New Orleans. I've never been but heard it's a foodie paradise... a place where I would probably put on 10 lbs. eating all the fried fish, po' boys and beignets. We chatted about all the delicious food she tried and she told me about Pecan Pralines, which she became so enamored with that she brought a box home with her. I've never had them, or really heard of them before, but upon hearing her exclamations I had to do some recipe research.
Who better to go to than Emeril Lagasse, the chef of New Orleans food? The recipe is similar to a caramel recipe but the texture is completely different. They’re crumbly, almost like a cookie but not chewy. The flavor reminds me of the brown sugar frosting for the Soft Pumpkin Cookies, and I’m crazy about that frosting, so these are pretty fantastic.
Of course I did a few tweaks along the way… I’m in love with vanilla so I added 2 tsp of vanilla, but you could get away with just 1 tsp if you’re not obsessive like me. These are truly a candy and are super sweet- that’s why I decided to add a little sprinkling of Fleur de Sel on top to balance the sweetness. I also thought bittersweet chocolate could add a nice depth of flavor and not add too much to the sweet-factor, like a milk chocolate would.
These would make a perfect gift. Bag them in cellophane with a pretty ribbon or make a plate of assorted goodies, to give away for the Holiday’s, and throw a couple of these in.
(recipe after the jump)

 Fleur de Sel Pralines with Bittersweet Chocolate
(slightly modified from here)
makes 12 pralines

Recipe Notes:
- I find it easiest to work with a cookie dough scoop because these are hot and you don’t want your fingers burnt by shaping them into rounds. With that said, I think bite-sized pralines would be best, so use the smallest scoop you can find.
- The Fleur de Sel needs to be sprinkled on each praline right after they’re formed. These harden faster than you realize, so you can’t make all the pralines and then put the Fleur de Sel on- the salt will just fall off. So put the salt on while they’re still warm and you should be all set.
- Fleur de Sel is what I like to use as a finishing salt, plus it makes me feel fancy! Anyway, if you don’t care about fanciness then course-ground kosher salt should do the trick.
- The addition of bittersweet chocolate is purely optional. I melted 2 oz. and that covered 5 pralines. I purposely didn’t want all of them chocolate so I only did the 2 oz. If you want all the pralines covered in chocolate than melt 4-6 oz. instead, depending on how much chocolate coverage you want.

Tools needed:
Small or mini cookie dough scoop
Candy thermometer

Ingredients:
1 Cup light brown sugar
½ Cup sugar
½ Cup heavy cream
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. water
1 Cup pecan halves
1-2 tsp. vanilla
Fleur de Sel
2-5 oz. bittersweet chocolate

Directions:
1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, heavy cream, butter and water. Place over medium-high heat and stir constantly until it reaches the softball stage, 238-240° F.
2. Pull the pan off the heat and add the pecans and vanilla. Stir vigorously for another 2-3 minutes, or until the pecans remain suspended in the candy.
3. Spoon the pralines out onto parchment or aluminum foil. Working quickly, make cookie-sized pralines, or even smaller bite-sized ones, and sprinkle Fleur de Sel immediately after each praline is formed.
4. Melt the bittersweet chocolate and hold a spoon about 4-6” away from the pralines and let the chocolate drizzle down, create a pattern if you wish. 
5. Let cool completely before eating and storing! Pralines can last over a week, if stored in a cool, dry container.  
Have you ever tried Pecan Pralines, or made them before?

4 comments:

  1. It looks delicious!

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  2. Those look yummy. This is a perfect thing to make for Thanksgiving too.

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, they'd be a hit at the Thanksgiving dessert table.

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