Contributed by: Donna Wheatley
The year I was pregnant with Evonne, Earl and I traveled to Seattle to spend Thanksgiving with Earl, Sr. while we were there, he informed us for the first time that he was going to get married to a lovely lady from New Orleans, Louisiana! She had sent a big box of homemade goodies to him for all of us to enjoy, and the moment I tasted her incredible pralines, I knew I was going to be good friends with her! 🙂 Over the years, the Evonne, Erin, and I have spent many happy December afternoons making these pralines for Christmas snacking.
1-Cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups pecans (1/2 pound), coarsely broken, not chopped
one-half plus 1 Tablespoon evaporated milk
You will eventually drop the pralines onto waxed paper. Get your waxed paper out and lay it out on the counter before you start!
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a 1 to 2 quart saucepan before cooking.
Then cook over medium heat to soft ball stage, stirring constantly. (To test, pour a drop of the cooked liquid into a cup of cold water. You should be able to put your hand down into the water and form a very soft ball with it. In other words, it may not make a ball as it falls into the water, but it will form a soft ball and hold together when you use your fingers to form it in the water.) This process doesn’t take as long as you think, so check it in the water frequently.
Remove it from the heat. Let it cool slightly and then beat it with a spoon by hand until it begins to thicken. This is the critical part. You don’t have a very big window of time between the time that it’s so runny that it will not form a patty, and the time that it turns hard and sugary and falls apart. We always consider the first batch to be a test run, and don’t worry! If it’s too thin, you have fabulous ice cream topping. If it’s too thick, break it into crumbles and sprinkle it into salads (yes, green salads), on top of sweet potatoes, or what the hey! Just eat up the “failure”!
When it is thick enough (the surface of the candy will be shiny), drop it by spoonfuls (make sure there are some nuts in each one) onto the waxed paper. It should set up into soft patties immediately. This candy is guaranteed to impress boyfriends, bosses, co-workers, and especially PREACHERS!