Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Praline Squares or Pecan CandyThese Praline Squares or  Pecan Candy are one of those happy accidents that comes from just enough knowledge. I found a recipe for New Orleans Praline Pieces on  epicurious.com that sounded just like what I was looking for.

I had made pralines before and I remembered they always seemed grainy after they set up. So, in an attempt to make them less grainy or not grainy at all, I decided to replace some of the sugar with clear corn syrup as it is an invert sugar and helps reduce crystallization in sugar.

So out comes the pot and in goes everything except the pecans. The butter melts, a candy thermometer is clamped on and the bubbling mass cooks to a temperature of 236 degrees. I removed it from the heat and cooled it to 220°F as instructed.

I then proceeded to stir like a mad woman until it became thick and creamy at which time I added the pecans, stirred even faster and poured the thick mass into a prepared 9×9 pan to cool.

After hours and hours of cooling, it looked like I was successful in making caramels with pecans in them. Now I am in no way complaining – they were sensational! But they never got hard like pralines nor became opaque like pralines. So I went to bed thinking I made a great candy but not praline.

The next morning I walked downstairs and had really forgotten about the whole praline experiment as I went about doing other things. I did finally get around to looking at them and lo and behold!

They firmed up, became opaque and they are the real thing – but not grainy. As an added attraction, they can be cut into perfect squares of melt in your mouth, brown sugar and pecan goodness.

But whether it is  Praline Squares or Pecan Candy it is good anytime but especially during the fall and for the holidays.

Praline Squares or Pecan CandyIngredients for Praline Squares or Pecan Candy
3/4 cup brown sugar (150 grams or 5 1/3 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup clear corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups pecan pieces (140 grams or 5 ounces)

Spray a 9 inch square pan and set aside.

Place all but the pecans in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart saucepan. Ingredients in pan for Praline Squares or Pecan CandyCook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugars dissolve and the butter melts. Ingredients melting in pan for the Praline Squares or Pecan CandyWhen the butter is melted and the mixture comes to a boil,Mixture boiling for the Praline Squares or Pecan Candy wash the sides down with a brush dipped in cold water.Washing sides down for Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

Clamp on a candy thermometer and boil, undisturbed, until it reaches 236 degrees. Thermometer clamped on for Praline Squares or Pecan CandyImmediately remove from the heat and let it cool to 220 degrees. Cooling mixture for the Praline Squares or Pecan CandyStir vigorously with a spoon until thick.Stirring mixture for the Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

Mixture stirred for Praline Squares or Pecan CandyStir the pecan pieces in quickly Nuts added for Praline Squares or Pecan Candyand pour into the prepared pan. Pouring into pan for the Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

Smooth out quickly as the mixture will become very thick and hard to move.Spreading in pan for the Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

So whether these become Praline Square or Pecan candy they are sure to become a part of your candy repertoire.

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Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post.

3 thoughts on “Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

  1. Lynette Pruett

    Helen, I can’t wait to try this! I grew up in Texas, where having a praline once in a while was a regular treat. My grandmother made them for every Christmas, along with Divinity. I’m not fond of the divinity, but Pralines are still a favorite. And I just bought a pound of pecan halves at the stores on Tuesday, because I wanted to try making pralines! So your timing on this post couldn’t have been better for me! I think I’ll be making loads of this for Christmas, in memory of my grandmother.

    Do you suggest toasting the pecans before adding them to the candy, in order to bring out more pecan flavor? I do that often with cookies and candy.

  2. Debbie

    Oh this looks heavenly! My grandkids are coming next week so I think I’ll make some for them. How long does it keep, and how do I store it?
    Thanks so much!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Debbie – It’s candy – just store in a container and it lasts until you eat it all. I can’t give an exact time because I ate mine too fast!

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