Holiday Southern Pralines Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Holiday Southern Pralines recipe:
- Dark brown sugar, granulated sugar: Most recipes – including the one I adapted – call for light brown sugar, and that will do just fine, but dark brown sugar gives them a deeper color, and a richer flavor.
- Heavy cream: The classic, traditional liquid of choice for Southern Pecan Pralines.
- Pecan halves and pieces: Buy them toated, or toast them on a baking sheet at 400°F for about 10 minutes, tossing frequently, before you use them. It’s important for them to be toasted: the Holiday Southern Pralines will not taste right with raw tree nut flavor all up and through it.
- Dried cranberries: They taste like tangy raisins. They make me think of holiday dinners because of cranberry sauce. Omit and replace with more toasted pecans if you like.
- Salted butter: Salted butter is important – if you don’t have it make sure to add a pinch of fine salt along with everything else. Salt brings out the flavors!
- Light corn syrup: I could have listed this with the sugar since that’s basically all it is, huh (sugars are pulled from cornstarch)? You can find quite a few recipes for Pralines that don’t use corn syrup – I’ve made them using evaporated milk before – but I think the texture is best with corn syrup, so that’s what I opt for.
- Vanilla extract: Another mandatory ingredient in Southern Pralines. Feel free to use up to two teaspoons for warmth.
- Ground cinnamon, ground cloves: Our holiday spices! These are really what make the experience. I said a ‘pinch’ of cloves and nutmeg and i mean literally that. Index finger and thumb pinch, too small of an amount of to be meaured in even a 1/8 teaspoon: a pinch! Or both.
- Equipment: You will need a thermometer. A candy thermometer, or an instant read one. If you don’t mind the temperature you’ll likley end up with pralines that are too hard or too soft. I highly recommend using silicone liners when making any sort of candy. Here’s a list of everything I used for this recipe:
How to Make Holiday Southern Pralines
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Holiday Southern Pralines recipe:
- Prepare yourself. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Alternatively, you can line it with foil and lightly grease it. Select a small spoon that you’ll use to drop the pralines, and grease that as well. Keep the baking spray or oil you’re using close in case you need to grease the spoon again.
- Boil the candy. Place a medium-sized saucepan on the stove and affix your candy thermometer to the side, if using. If you’re not using it I hope you have hella experience making candy or you plan on using an instant-read thermometer later! Add the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, salt, cinnamon, and cloves to the pan and bring a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking the mixture for 3-5 minutes to allow the sugars to dissolve, all the way until it reaches what’s called the “hard” or “firm ball” stage, which is around 240°F. As soon as it reaches this temperature remove it from the heat and allow it to cool, undisturbed, for 4 minutes.
- Beat it (no one likes to be defeated): After the cooling period grab a wooden spoon and stir in the vanilla, cranberries, and pecans. Beat the crap out of this mixture for about 2-3 minutes – stir it with all the speed and elbow strength you can muster! – until it’s thickened up. It’s right when the pecans and cranberries are kind of ‘suspended’ or floating in the mixture. It should look like melted caramel or really thick syrup. Now, move quickly!
- Fast Dollops! As fast as you can, or you’ll end up with one big ass praline the shape of your saucepan instead of a baking sheet of normal sized Holiday Southern Pralines. Grab your greased spoon and dollop portions of the hot praline mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it around into the desired shape QUICKLY and continue until you’ve prepared all of the pralines.
- FINISH HIM (them): Dot the tops of the pralines with more dried cranberries and toasted pecan pieces, if desired. Let them cool completely on the counter, then pack into an air-tight container and eat within a couple of days.