Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2008 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Whether you call these "pray-leens" or "prah-leens", you'll love these soft fudge 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." Buttermilk can be used in traditional Southern praline recipes, giving them a wonderful flavor and texture.
CANDY RECIPE HELP
I add the liquid ingredients first and then the sugar; the opposite of what most candy makers suggest. The traditional way leaves some sugar dry spots in the bottom of the pan causing them to burn even though traditional instructions have you draw an "x" in the sugar to moisten it slightly or to stir the two together.
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups fresh pecan halves
1. Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper or a silpat mat and set aside.
2. In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart pan with high sides, combine the buttermilk and baking soda.
SARAH SAYS: If you are using a gas range, use a sized pan which will not allow the flames to rise up the sides of the pot during cooking, which would cause the mixture to burn.
3. Slowly pour the sugar dead-center in the middle of the buttermilk / baking soda. Make sure you don't splatter sugar on the side of the pan.
4. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.
SARAH SAYS: Occasionally during stirring and especially right before the mixture comes to a boil, wash the sides of the pan using a heat proof pastry brush dipped in clean water on the inside walls of the pot above the surface of the syrup. Dip the brush in water every time before washing the side of the pan. Stirring often causes sugar grains to cling to the inside of the pan. If they aren't washed off with a moistened pastry brush before boiling, the loose grains will cause the recipe to crystallize.
5. Clip on the Candy Thermometer at the side of the pot. Continue cooking WITHOUT STIRRING OR JARRING THE PAN until the mixture reaches 236 degrees F or the soft-ball stage.
6. Immediately remove from the heat and quickly stir in butter, vanilla and then, all of the pecans at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is creamy.
7. Spoon onto waxed paper forming 2-inch round patties. Cool to room temperature.
Store in a tightly covered container, between sheets of waxed paper, in a cool, dry place where they will keep for a month.