Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
From "The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook" by candy-makers Liz Gutman and Jen King.
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1⁄4 cup dark corn syrup
- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1⁄2 cups toasted pecan pieces (or halves crushed slightly with a rolling pin)
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- hot water, if needed
- Place the sugars, salt, corn syrup, evaporated milk and butter in a medium-size (4- to 6-quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, uncovered, over high heat.
- Insert a candy thermometer and lower the heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 236 degrees (soft-ball stage), about 15 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool until it thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Place a large sheet of parchment or wax paper on a work surface.
- Add the vanilla, pecans, and cayenne to the cooled mixture, and beat with the wooden spoon until it thickens and just starts to lose its gloss, 5 to 7 minutes. Then, working quickly, use two metal tablespoons to shape balls of the mixture and drop them onto the parchment-lined work surface. If the mixture hardens too much to work with, add a few drops of hot water and stir with the wooden spoon to soften it. Don't do this more than once because continuing to add water will leave the finished candies sticky.
- Allow the pralines to set until they are firm to the touch and can easily be loosened from the parchment, 10 to 20 minutes.
- Store pralines, layered between parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two.