1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. light brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 T. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ c. pecans
Put milk and sugars in heavy pot, mix well, and cook (without stirring) until mixture reaches “soft ball” stage (234º). Remove from heat and add rest of ingredients. Beat until cool and slightly thickened, then spoon onto waxed paper. Makes 1½ to 2 dozen.
NOTE: Stirring while cooking will produce a sugary texture.
I actually had decided not to make and enter these after all, since it had been so humid and believe me, it does not work to make candy when the weather is humid! However, the morning of the 16th dawned a beautiful sunny day with very low humidity, so again I thought, why not give making a batch a try? Now I think I had made them once before and they turned out o.k. However, this batch turned out looking just like the Pralines I had seen and enjoyed in New Orleans. (A nice golden brown color, flat except where the pecan halves made them raised) In fact the recipe came from the Cooking New Orleans Style cookbook I had bought in New Orleans when we were there in 2004. I was so happy with them when I packaged them up for the fair! And I am actually very happy they won a ribbon. I do have to say that I am wondering if the Ky State Fair judges have even had a real New Orleans "Prah-leen*," since the first place winner looked more like penuche fudge - pale and thick and gloppy with chopped nuts. I guess they must have tasted a whole lot better than mine, for they certainly were not as pretty.
*The reason I have mentioned this is that we recently met a couple from New Orleans and Karen pronounced the confection as "Pe-cahn Prah-leens." I just want us to get it right, in case we do make it back to "N'Awlins" for another fun time!