Happy happy holidays! It's Carla here. Can you believe it's almost the end of our 12-day Holiday Hooplah? If you want to win the prize drawing, be sure you've commented on each day's project as described in the link above!
One of the fun parts of the holidays for me is the food. It's this time of year when we attend the most parties, and get to enjoy all the different dishes people bring! Today I'm bringing you my favorite holiday treat. If you've spent time in the South (of the U.S., that is), you know about pralines, the brown-sugary candy loaded with pecans. I find them extremely addictive, which is why I try to make them only around the holidays! They're fast to make (about 45 minutes from the time I start to think about making them), and they go over really well at holiday parties. I wish you could actually taste these right now!
By the way, I think it's a great idea to scrapbook your holiday foods, along with your other favorite traditions of the season. One of my goals is to create a scrapbook-cookbook of my favorite recipes.
So, back to those pecan pralines. Here are a few tips. As with cooking any candy, getting it to the correct temperature is key. I don't use a candy thermometer. Rather, I go with the "soft ball" test. When you drop a bit of the candy liquid into a cup of ice water, and you can pick it up and roll it into a soft ball between your fingers, then you've reached the right stage. After removing the pot from the heat, it's important to stir the mixture until it cools and thickens. When you're ready to drop the pralines, work quickly so the candy doesn't harden before you've spooned it all out of the pot. I like to scrape the leftover candy from the sides of the pot and use these "crumbs" for topping my oatmeal the next morning!
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ stick butter
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups pecans
Combine all ingredients over medium heat. Stir frequently, and boil until soft ball can be formed in a cup of cold water (boil about 10 minutes or so, until candy starts to thicken and cake on sides of pot). Remove from heat. Stir until thick. Spoon onto parchment paper or buttered wax paper.
Makes about 3 dozen.