Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hey, Sugar

 Pecan Pralines.  Say those two words along with me.  Pecan.  Pralines.
Congratulations!  You just gained five pounds.  And welcome to the Land of Buttery Sugar - better known as anywhere below the Mason Dixon line.

Since this blog is about life where I live, and since I live below the aforementioned line, it seemed like a pretty good idea to talk about our food and maybe show you that food and maybe tell a few of our food secrets and maybe entice you to try some of this stuff.  It's pretty good.

So we'll start with Pecan Pralines.  If you frequent the candy counter at Cracker Barrel, you're already acquainted with the fact that in the South we love our pecans.  And since no one has ever accused us of restraint, one of us many years ago decided to combine them with two more of our main food groups - sugar and butter.  The result was Pecan Pralines.  I've never heard who invented them, but my guess is they were a first cousin of The Angel Gabriel.

A few years ago, The Junior League of Savannah thoughtfully included the standard recipe in one of their cookbooks.  Those Junior League girls know how to cook.  Here is what you do, illustrated by my own batch of pralines courtesy of those girls in Savannah:
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn syrup, 3 tablespoons of butter, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup evaporated milk.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees (or forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water).  
Add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and cook for another minute or so, then remove from heat.  Let candy cool for 2 minutes, then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat with a spoon until creamy.
Quickly drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper or a Silpat and allow to cool.  I'm told it's possible to store these in an airtight container between layers of wax paper, but I wouldn't know.  They never last that long around here.  In fact, they never even get a chance to cool completely.
This batch barely made it past the photograph, and that was only because I stuffed my husband in the closet and locked the door.  

And there you have it.
Secret That Every Southern Cook Learned As A Child, Number 1:
"Butter and brown sugar will fix just about anything"

More than a few enterprising Southerners have figured out that these things will bring big bucks.  If you have some praline money burning a hole in your pocket, one of my favorite purveyors is River Street Sweets in Savannah.  I don't know if they're related to those Junior League girls or not, but they do make a decent praline.

Tell them Beth sent you! 


  1. OH Beth! You would put that on here when I have some pecans in the kitchen that haven't even been cracked yet! My goodness..! Thanks for the recipe.

  2. You're bad! LOL! But me too! I LOVE THEM!!!

    XO Diane

  3. First Beth I want to thank you for "Mitzi the Duck" and other of your graphic (I started to buy them through pcCrafters which is closed now) and Thanks for these superb receips which I have forwarded to my friend who is doing a lot of baking and cooking.

    Thank you!!