May 31, 2008
When I was younger and my family would head back home to see the grandparents each summer. As we traveled, my parents would look for a Stuckey's Pecan Candy Shoppe for a break from driving. Stuckey's were known for their wonderful candy, like pecan rolls and divinity. At our first stop my parents would always buy a couple of boxes of divinity and pralines for us to enjoy as we traveled.
For my Praline Rooibos Opera Cake, I made these New Orleans style pralines for the flavoring of the cake. The recipe I used is from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking. In these pralines, the sugar is opaque rather than clear.
The flavor is delicious with a slight hint of caramel. My children weren't that fond of these candies, but my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
1 cup sugar
2 Tb glucose*
1/4 cup water
1 Tb mesquite honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 Tb vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
small bowl of water
1. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set out two sauce pans, a medium one for making pralines and another half filled with water. Place two soup spoons and a whisk in the water. Then set the pot on low and allow the utensils to warm while you make the pralines.
2. Dump in the sugar, glucose and water in the medium sauce pan. Cover the pan and set over medium heat for 4 minutes. At the end of this time, remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil. Insert a candy thermometer into the sugar mixture. Do not stir the sugar mixture until after the syrup is cooked. If any stray sugar crystals appear on the side of the pan, using a pastry brush lightly dipped in water.
3. The sugar will form bubbles that will get very large as it cooks. After the sugar has cooked for about 8 minutes, it will turn a light golden brown. When the temperature reaches 335 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pan from the heat. Allow the pan to cool for about 1 minute before adding the other ingredients.
4. Pour the honey, brown sugar, vegetable shortening and salt in to the pan. Using the warm whisk, blend the ingredients into the syrup. Then add the pecans and whisk again.
5. Scoop out a soup spoon sized serving of the praline with the warm soup spoons. Then set the spoonfuls on the parchment paper. If the praline begins to harden before you have finished scooping out the candy, place the pan over low heat until it softens again. Let the candy cool to room temperature before serving. Store the pralines at room temperature in a covered container.
* Glucose - I used Wilton's Glucose for this recipe, purchased it from Michael's Craft Store. I found it on the cake decorating aisle. You can substitute corn syrup or sugar syrup in place of the glucose.