Now that Thanksgiving is over and we’re getting into Christmas time, it’s time for some tasty pralines! The first time I had them was in Savannah, and if you’ve ever been there before, you know that every other store is a praline candy shop. They lure you in with the warm sugary samples and then you go to buy them and….WHAAAAAAAAT?!???! $18 DOLLARS A POUND??!?!?! That’s a lot for some sugar and nuts!!!! I could go buy myself some dry aged beef at Whole Foods for that kind of money! My husband and I discussed whether or not we should buy some to take home, and I said no, I am going to go home and figure out how to make them! And I did (plus, mine are better…they have more nuts in them and more flavor). These pralines are really delicious when they’re warm, and they also make great gifts for friends. Here is the recipe for my double bourbon pecan and walnut pralines (bourbon whiskey and bourbon madagascar vanilla bean):
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
.5 cup sugar
.5 cup heavy whipping cream
.25 cup unsalted butter (half a stick)
2 tbsp bourbon whiskey
1/2 a bourbon madagascar vanilla bean, innards scraped out and added to mixture***
2 cups pecans (or walnuts, whichever you like. I did half and half for this batch)
How to make the sugary goodness:
Combine all the ingredients except the nuts into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat over medium high, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until it reaches 238F on an instant read thermometer. This is the soft ball stage, and when you drop a little of the mixture into a bowl of ice water, you should be able to roll the praline mixture into a little ball with the tips of your fingers, like so:
Take the praline mixture off the stove, add the nuts, and stir the mixture for 60 seconds (this is very important, count to 60, or else your pralines will be glossy), then dollop it onto some parchment paper for them to set.
***If you don’t have vanilla bean, adjust the recipe to 1 tbsp bourbon whiskey and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. But really, you should get the vanilla bean because it has better flavor and you get pretty little vanilla specks in your praline. You can get really cheap (and fragrant) Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans below (click on the picture, they’re sold on Amazon). You get 7 of them for $7.95 and free shipping, and you will NEVER find that kind of price for a vanilla bean at a grocery store (the cheapest I’ve seen is $10 for 2 beans, and they weren’t even the Bourbon Madagascar ones, which are the best and most fragrant).