New Orleans Style Pralines
Makes about 34 pralines (1-1/4 pounds)
|2||cups packed light brown sugar|
|2||tablespoons bourbon or cognac|
|1-1/2||cups pecan halves|
- Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Combine brown sugar, half-and-half and salt in heavy 2- or 2-1/2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture begins to boil, stirring occasionally.
- Attach candy thermometer to side of pan, making sure bulb is submerged in sugar mixture but not touching bottom of pan or use instant-read thermometer. Continue boiling about 20 minutes or until sugar mixture reaches soft-ball stage (235° to 240°F) on candy thermometer, stirring occasionally. (Watch carefully because candy will be grainy if overcooked.) Remove from heat; stir in butter and bourbon. Stir in pecans.
- Beat with wooden spoon 3 to 4 minutes until temperature drops to 155°F on candy thermometer and mixture is thickened and glossy. Quickly drop pecan mixture by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. (If mixture becomes too thick, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons hot water and reheat over medium heat until mixture reaches 155°F on candy thermometer.) Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
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