New Orleans-Style Pralines

New Orleans-Style Pralines
In New Orleans, it's "prah-leen," not "pray-leen." But they taste just as good no matter how you say it. Photography by Jenny Huang/Food Styling by Erika Joyce

This combination of white sugar, half-and-half, and butter makes a ­classic creamy praline. Measure all of your ingredients ahead of time; the process moves quickly.

Equipment

New Orleans–Style Pralines
This combination of white sugar, half-and-half, and butter makes a ­classic creamy praline. Measure all of your ingredients ahead of time; the process moves quickly.
Yield: makes 30
Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 14 vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Line two large baking sheets with wax paper and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 cups sugar, the half-and-half, butter, and salt; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to combine.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium stainless-steel pot, add the remaining ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir well, then bring to a boil over high heat. Cook without stirring until the sugar mixture turns a deep, golden caramel, about 2 minutes.
  3. Working quickly and carefully, turn off the stove and pour all of the half-and-half mixture, as well as the pecans and vanilla extract, into the pot of caramel. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously to combine, then return to medium-high heat.
  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage ( 235°F), 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the thermometer.
  5. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens and turns glossy (7–9 minutes). Use a large spoon to scoop rounded tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between each praline. Cool completely before serving at room temperature.
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