Mom used to make these, but for some reason
when I was a kid I didn't much care for them. Now I love pralines and can't
for the life of me figure out what I didn't like then. Jay thinks that the
only good pralines come from the south (made by large African-American women
stirring huge kettles, he says!), but curiously Mom's recipe is almost an
exact duplicate of one I saw recently from someone who lives in the southern
US. So this is authentic!
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons butter
2-1/3 cups pecan halves
Mix sugar and baking soda together in large
heavy kettle; add the buttermilk and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring and
scraping the bottom continually until it reaches 218°
F. Add the butter and pecans, continue cooking to 230°
F. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Beat until creamy and drop by spoonfuls onto
Note: other recipes I've seen tell you to
cook mixture to the soft ball stage (235°-240°)
and THEN add the butter and pecans. And, they don't all say to beat the
mixture after it's cooked. Also, if you want to add a teaspoon of vanilla, add
it along with the butter and pecans.