Texas-Style Pecan Pralines
The recipe for these pralines is an adaptation of one that appears in MexTex: Traditional Tex-Mex Taste (Bright Sky Press, 2006) by Matt Martinez, Jr. Pralines, whose name derives from a word of French origin, are sweets made by coating nuts with sugar syrup. The addition of baking soda to this recipe creates a light and silky confection.
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3⁄4 cup milk
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups pecan halves or pieces
- Line 2 large sheet pans with wax paper, butter the paper with 1 tbsp. of the butter, and set aside. Combine sugar, milk, and baking soda in a medium pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 240° on a candy thermometer (the soft ball stage), 18–20 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat, add remaining 1 tbsp. butter and vanilla extract, and stir quickly until completely incorporated and creamy, about 20 seconds. Add pecans and stir well to coat.
- Working quickly—before the mixture sets—drop generous spoonfuls of it onto the prepared pans to form disks about 2″ wide. Let them cool and harden completely, about 2 hours. Carefully peel the pralines from the wax paper. Serve at once, or store the pralines in an airtight container at room temperature for 2–3 days.