Prepare a jelly roll pan by lining with foil and buttering the bottom.
Combine 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat and cook until the mixture begins to turn a light caramel color (about 8 minutes). When sugar becomes caramel colored, quickly add 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans and mix with a wooden spoon until nuts are covered with caramel.
Take off heat and immediately pour mixture onto the buttered foil-lined jelly roll pan, spreading out the hot sugar-nut mixture. Allow it to cool. Once it cools completely, break it into pieces and pulverize in a food proccesor. Grind it a bit coarsely, so you can see nut bits, but that is a personal preference. Set aside. Makes about 2/3 cup.
To Make Pound Cake: Preheat oven to 300 degree F.
Grease, flour and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans (1/3 cup untoasted) a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream together butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Blend in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add red food coloring and vanilla extract. In another bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Beat flour mixture in three parts into creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour. Stir in chocolate chips and Pecan Praline Powder.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick tests clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan, then invert onto serving plate and allow to cool completely before serving. Dust with cocoa powder or confectioners sugar for a pretty presentation.