There are times when you need to stick to the tradition and there are times you can mess with it. This riff on a New Orleans-style praline recipe produces sweet, slightly crumbly candies loaded with toasted pecans and a subtle maple flavor. It’s important for the pecans be well-toasted for maximum flavor and crunch.Print
Maple Pecan Pralines
1 cup granulated maple sugar
1 cup packed granulated or light brown sugar
1/2 cup light or heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, in slices or cubes
2 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract
1–1/2 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan combine the maple sugar, granulated or brown sugar, and cream over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then insert a candy thermometer.
Cook the candy, stirring occasionally, until the candy reaches 240 degrees on the thermometer. This requires some patience and close watching as you don’t want it to go higher that 240 degrees.
Once the proper temperature is reached, remove the pan from the heat and drop the pieces of butter on top, but do not stir. Allow the pan to sit for one minute.
After a minute, add the vanilla extract and the pecans, and begin to stir smoothly and constantly with a wooden spoon. The candy will begin to thicken and turn lighter in color.
Continue to stir until the candy starts to hold its shape. It should still be easy to stir, however it is important not to stir too much, as pralines can change quickly and become sugary. Once it is a lighter, opaque brown and holds its shape, quickly begin to drop small spoonfuls of the candy onto the prepared baking sheet.
Work quickly to form the candies, as the pralines will start to set in the saucepan. If the candy stiffens before you’re done scooping, add a spoonful of very hot water and stir until it loosens, then continue scooping until you have formed all the pralines.
Allow the candy to fully set at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or wrap pralines individually in plastic wrap.