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Whether you call these "pray-leens" or "prah-leens", you'll love these Southern soft fudge crystalline candy pecan wonders. For the record, the local and proper pronunciation is "prah-lean," while the pecan nut most commonly used in it is pronounced "peck-on." French settlers brought this recipe to Louisiana, where both sugar cane and pecan trees were plentiful. During the 19th century, New Orleans chefs substituted pecans for almonds, and thus created what became known throughout the American South as the praline.
Pralines are made with pecans, sugar (often brown), cream, butter, and vanilla and sometimes bourbon. Buttermilk or evaporated can be used in traditional Southern praline recipes, giving them a wonderful flavor and creamy texture. The sugar and milk are boiled in a pot until most of the water has evaporated. Then, the butter, vanilla, bourbon, salt, and then, all of the pecans at once. The mixture is beaten and dropped onto a parchment or waxed paper, or greased aluminum foil surface, where they harden quickly as they cool. Pralines have a creamy consistency, similar to fudge.