Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all! Battling all of these northeast winter storms, and just having had to shovel nearly a foot of snow makes me long for New Orleans – where today’s high will be in the mid-60’s. (Jealous) One of the home-town treats that I’ve been missing are pralines, or “pecan candy” as native New Orleanians call it. It’s usually my staple souvenir whenever I travel home and friends or co-workers ask me to bring them something back.
To give you a bit of history, according to New Orleans Historical, pralines originated in 17th century France when the chef of César, duc de Choiseul, comte du Plessis-Praslin coated almonds with sugar. French settlers in Louisiana brought the praline tradition with them. African-American cooks working in the French colonists’ kitchens transformed the sugared-almond praline. Because of their abundance, pecans replaced almonds and milk was added. The final product was the sweet, creamy patty filled with pecans that we love today.
My grandmother made these treats for us growing up. Wanting my little one to always know her Louisiana roots, I’ve made some to enjoy since we’re all housebound due to the snow.
Kennie’s Pecan Candy:
½ stick of butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup pecan pieces (add more to your liking)
Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir in the sugar, brown sugar, milk, vanilla and salt. Slowly bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (or the soft ball stage), remove from heat and stir in pecans. Scoop out and drop large spoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment paper. Let cool and enjoy!
Fun Fact: Pralines are pronounced “prah-leen” or “praw-leen” in Louisiana, and “pray-leen” everywhere else in the U.S. 🙂
Have you ever tried praline candy? (Praline & Cream ice cream doesn’t count.) What’s your favorite sweet treat?