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February 5, 2013

LOUISIANA- Yummy Pecan Pralines

This recipe is #23 in OUR COOKIE NATION series.
I have to admit that this particular recipe was a real challenge for me.  I made it 3 times before it turned out like it should have.  I found that the original recipe directions weren't working for me, and I'm not sure why.  Maybe the altitude I live at (4500 ft.) makes a difference or some other little thing I'm not aware of, but whatever it is, the 3rd time was the charm!

Once I had finally figured out the changes I needed to make, it became a pretty simple recipe, so I encourage you to try these!

Yummy Pecan Pralines
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. evaporated milk
(not sweetened condensed milk)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/4 c. pecan halves
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Generously grease a large baking sheet (I simply used non-stick spray).
In a large sauce pan with a heavy bottom (or dutch oven style pan), combine the the white and brown sugars with the milk.
Bring to a boil.
Stir in the butter, pecan halves and vanilla.
Heat WITHOUT STIRRING to soft ball stage (234 to 240 degrees) be sure to use a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat and cool about 2 minutes.
Stir the candy just to make sure everything is combined, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto the greased baking sheet.  The candy will spread very slightly.  Repeat until the syrup has all been used, but work quickly, this candy will start to set up rather fast. 
Let cool completely then store in a covered container.

Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Beat until thickened, then pour immediately onto the prepared pan and let rest until firm and completely cool before cutting into pieces.

The first 2 times I made this, as I was beating the candy, it would crystallize before I could even get it onto the baking sheet, and then would harden up to the point that you couldn't really eat it {however, I did give it the good ol' college try, and it tasted wonderful}. This is the reason I skipped the 5 minutes of mixing in the directions.
As the candy cooled it lost its bright shine and became more opaque, like the candy in the original recipe photo.  The pralines were delicious and a little chewy, like a caramel.
Good candy-I have no idea why considers this a "cookie" in their list-ha ha ha.
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