My mawmaw’s recipe for this classic Cajun candy of nutty creaminess is easy to make and so delicious, especially for the holidays.
2 cups sugar 3/4 teaspoon baking soda dash of salt 1 cup canned evaporated milk 1 1/2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups pecans halves
Put sugar, baking soda, salt and milk in a heavy saucepan. Stir ingredients together and cook over medium to medium-low heat with a constant stir. Cook until the candy darkens and it reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 – 245 degrees on the thermometer. Take pot off of heat and add the butter and vanilla to the pralines. Beat by hand with a spoon for a few minutes then add pecans continuing to beat until it feels a bit firmer. Drop pralines onto waxed paper using a tablespoon and let sit until they harden and cool completely.
Instead of using a candy thermometer you can test to see if the pralines have reached the soft-ball stage by placing a few drops of the mixture into an ice cold cup of water. Use your fingers to form the praline mixture into a ball. If it has reached the appropriate stage it will form into a ball but will turn flat after it is taken out of the cold water. Cold, dry weather will help in yielding the best results for pralines. If the weather is humid you may need to cook the pralines a little past the soft-ball stage.