Here in the United States, there seems to be some debate over the magnificent praline’s basic ingredients and texture. Not having a clue what a praline from the southern United States tastes like, I cannot fairly cast my vote for the best praline. Nor can I advise you on how to pronounce it… (praw-leen or pray-leen?). But I will provide one delicious version, and let you settle the rest. I think these pralines are fantastic whether they are truly authentic or not.
These pralines will take you over the top with sweetness. They are creamy and dissolve upon bite, with a touch of sugary grainy texture to finish them off.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Scant 1/2 cup margarine (vegan, such as Earth Balance brand margarine)
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 2 cups pecans (pieces)
- Toast the pecans (this step is optional) in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until they fill your kitchen with an irresistible toasted pecan smell.
- Prepare a cookie sheet by lightly greasing with margarine, or by lining with wax paper or a silicone mat. Set aside. Also, grab a large spoon, or 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop the praline mixture onto the surface when ready. Get your candy thermometer ready, but don’t yet clip to your pan.
- Combine all ingredients in a fairly heavy sided 2 or 3-quart saucepan.
- Once the sugar has dissolved completely, use your spoon and get any leftover sugar particles off of the side of the saucepan and incorporated back into the dissolved mixture. Rinse your spoon to also remove any straggling sugar crystals from getting into your mixture.
- Next, clip on your candy thermometer. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until mixture reaches 235 degrees on your candy thermometer. Also, you can drop a bit into super cold water and it should form a soft flexible ball.
- Remove the mixture from the stovetop immediately after it reaches the proper temperature. It will be amber colored and runny at this point. Stir vigorously for about 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture turns matte (loses its sheen) and starts to separate from the pot. I always stir while holding the pot in the air while moving around slightly to incorporate the cooler temperature of the air into the sugar mixture.
- It will be pretty thick at this point, and definitely will have lightened up in color. Quickly drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased surface or silicone baking mat.
- Let cool until hard and enjoy!