Desserts and candies tended to be a little understated in Louisiana, prior to the arrival of the Ursuline nuns in the 1700s. With them came the knowledge of great pastry making and other confectionery, but most important was their gift of praline candy to the city of New Orleans. Although this sugar candy was originally made with hazelnuts, Bayou Country recipes adapted the pecan because of its regional abundance.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 stick butter
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, roasted (optional)
Combine all ingredients and bring to soft, ball stage(238-240 degrees F), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir until mixture thickens, becomes creamy and cloudy and pecans stay suspended in mixture. Spoon out on buttered wax paper, aluminum foil or parchment paper. (When using wax paper, be sure to buffer with newspaper underneath as hot wax will transfer to whatever is beneath.)
NOTE: To roast pecans, bake them on a sheet pan at 275 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until slightly browned and their smell permeates throughout the room.