Southern pralines are made with pecans and brown sugar. This is a delicious candy for special occasions.
- Butter sides of a heavy saucepan (2-quart size).
- Add sugars, half-and-half, and salt to saucepan.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
- Raise heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.
- Reduce heat and continue cooking to soft ball stage*, about 234 F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
- Add butter and vanilla, but do not stir. Cool for 5 minutes; stir in nuts. Beat with wooden spoon until candy is no longer glossy and is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Quickly spoon candy onto buttered baking sheets or waxed paper. If mixture becomes too thick to drop from a spoon, add a little hot water, no more than half a teaspoon at a time. Makes about 36 pralines.
*To test for soft ball stage: A small amount of syrup dropped into chilled water forms a ball, but flattens when picked up with fingers (234 F to 240 F).