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Texas Pecan Pralines

My pecan praline recipe is special to me for I received it from my mother, who was an excellent cook! I also am a Texas Aggie Mom and I use pecans from a South Texas Aggie grower that our Aggie Mom's club has purchased from for many years. The quality is outstanding and far better than you will find in any grocery store. —Carol Jones, Blue Ridge, Texas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 30 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    about 2-1/4 pounds

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Dash salt
  • 3 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Line 3 baking sheets with foil and grease the foil with 1 teaspoon butter each; set aside.
  • In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt cubed butter. Stir in sugars, cream, milk, corn syrup and salt; cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 236° (soft-ball stage), about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; stir in pecans and vanilla. Cool, without stirring, to 170°, about 20 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture just begins to thicken but is still glossy, about 2 minutes.
  • Quickly drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Let stand until pralines are set and no longer glossy. Refrigerate until completely set, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Texas Pecan Pralines Tips

What's the difference between brittle and praline?

Praline is a softer candy, while brittle is very crunchy. This is determined by what temperature the sugar mixture reaches. At a lower temperature, the sugar, when cooled, will be chewy and soft. If cooked to a higher temperature, or "hard crack" stage, the sugar will be brittle when cooled. Modern candy thermometers make it easy, as these sugar-cooking stages are listed directly on the thermometer.

How do you harden pralines?

Pralines become hard when completely cooled (though not as hard as brittle, as mentioned above!). This can take an hour or more at room temperature, but can be sped up if the room is colder or if the pralines are placed in the refrigerator.

Why are my pecan pralines grainy?

When sugar crystallizes, it yields a grainy candy. So when you're cooking the sugar mixture for your pecan pralines, don't heat it too fast. Instead, keep the heat at medium and let the mixture come to a boil. Stir occasionally, but not constantly, especially when the recipe is cooling. And it's never a good idea to make substitutions or double a candy recipe. Check out these other common candy mistakes and how to fix them.

How long do pecan pralines last?

Pralines can be stored for two to four weeks in an airtight container in a spot that isn't too warm or humid. Use parchment paper to separate layers and keep the pralines from sticking to each other.

Research contributed by Anna Thomas Bates
Nutrition Facts
1 praline: 139 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein.
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