Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pralines, Kids

I made pralines.  I don't really know why.  Oh wait, yes I do.  BECAUSE THEY'RE DELICIOUS!

After our trip to New Orleans, I fell in love with pralines.  I don't really know why I was so surprised.  I mean, I love sugar.  I love candy.  And I love pecans.  In fact, when we used to have the Orchard Harvest Salad at Panera (I miss Panera!), I would eat the pecans straight off the line when it was slow.  Pecan, pecan, pecan.

Panera probably doesn't miss me violating health codes and stuff.

So anyways.  Pralines.  Let's make em.  I used this recipe because I did not want a praline recipe from some random place.  I wanted New Orleans Pralines.  I'm an elitist.

Lezz go!

You need white sugar and light brown sugar.   You also need to make sure that you don't have an aversion to sugar because that's pretty much the bulk of this whole recipe.

You also need half & half.  Actually, you're supposed to use light cream, but the Bronx didn't have any of that.  So we'll bootleg this part.

There are a lot of things that I expect the grocery stores outside my apartment to be missing (ripe avocados? Frozen fruit? Baked Lays?), but light cream really wasn't one of them.  I should be used to this by now.

Combine the above in a saucepan over medium heat and start stirring.  Do not eat.  Trust me, it will just begin a vicious circle that will lead you to eat so much sugar that you don't even want a praline at the end.  I speak from experience.

Psst... I ate some.  And I still ate a praline at the end.  It was worth it.

Keep stirring until the sugar begins to boil.  Starting to see bubbles...

Okay, here some a few more... but not quite...

Yes!  That's what we want to see.  Rejoice.  Do not eat.  For real this time.  It is very, very, very hot.  You will burn yourself.  I speak from experience.

Please, my friends, learn from my shortcomings.

Guess what?  These aren't pecans.  Because the Bronx doesn't have any of those, either.  They don't even have them at the fake Nuts 4 Nuts stand.  I checked.  So these are walnuts.  Whatever nut substance you have (teeheehee), you want to add it now.

We're makin' Bronx Pralines now, people.  Get your big kid pants on.

Whee!!!  One and a half cups.

Also add two tablespoons of butter at this point.  If you're Paula Deen, add four times that amount.  In other words, a full stick.  If Paula Deen read my blog, that would be awesome.  I wonder if she's seen this blog yet...

Then STIR!  Don't wimp out on me.

Oh dear.  Oh my.  Candy-coated walnut cluster.  Seriously, do not eat this.  It's still very hot.  I speak from experience.

Then, I decided to add some salt, because nothing goes better with caramel-like substance than salt.  Salty-sweet nom!  Also, if I add salt, I can say that I "modified" the recipe, and therefore, it is my own.  Tricky, tricky, tricky!

BAM!  Salt.  Stir it in, then let the pot sit off the heat for a little while, until you can tell that it's starting to firm up.

Drop spoonfuls of the warm candy onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or wax paper.  I was planning to use one of the thirteen rolls of wax paper that I bought for the Mimes back in October, but I was too lazy to walk to the theater.

Mannnn, do these look good.  They'll be hard in five to ten minutes (and they're even better when they're still warm!).

But guess what...

GUESS WHAT?!?!....

We're not done yet, kids.

Because I had this brilliant idea... what if we made pralines with pretzels in them???

Ohhh yeah.  Just do the same as above, adding pretzels instead of walnuts.

Oh yeah, this was totally a good idea.  But I still don't think this is done...

Chocolate.  Yes.   Now you're speaking my language.

I don't have final pictures of the concoctions because I had to make dinner and run off the the Vag Mons, but everyone who ate them looked a bit like these two cuties:

I just can't handle it.  Speaking of that, I started a Tumblr.  Follow me!

Recipe (with my modifications) is below!

TGIT (Thank God It's Tuesday),
New Orleans Bronx Pralines
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1.5 cups walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tsp salt
Combine sugars and half & half in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to a boil.  When mixture becomes thick, add walnuts, butter, and salt, and continue to cook until desired thickness (or viscosity, if you prefer, fancy!).  Remove from heat for 5-10 minutes, so that the mixture is starting to harden but is still liquid.  Drop onto wax paper or aluminum foil in balls.  Allow to cool.  Eat with vigor and zest.

Variation: substitute pretzel sticks for walnuts and drizzle melted chocolate on top!

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