Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Little Something Sweet

For your consideration -- a tasty treat that shows up frequently on the Mingling Yarn holiday dessert table -- "Juanita's buttermilk pralines"
Recipe clipped from a Houston newspaper many years ago, "This is a no-fail easy recipe that withstands even Houston humidity with relative ease. The mixture is initially a creamy white; the sugar caramelizes and turns brown as it cooks. A food editor-tested recipe."

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, soda and salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, to the soft ball stage, 234 degrees F. The mixture will foam up in the pan during cooking, so be sure to use a large pan and stir constantly to prevent boiling over.
When candy thermometer registers 234 degrees F., remove pan from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Beat until candy loses its gloss and begins to thicken. Working quickly, because it will turn sugary fast at this point, drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Lift paper up from counter/table surface as candy cools to prevent pralines' breaking or shattering.
NOTE: if you have a silicon baking sheet (Silpat is one brand), that works really well instead of waxed paper. Probably hadn't even been invented when this recipe was first written! And the "no fail" statement above? I'm fairly sure it refers to the candy never failing to set up in humid weather -- certainly a talented fool could find ways to make this not work -- like using a too small pan...who me?