David’s Christmas Pralines

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When I was a kid, I’d always bug my mom to make pralines. Pralines were my absolute favorite treat! My mom would always reply with they’re too hard to make, you need a marble slab, and the humidity must be just right to make them. I remember trying to figure out what humidity and the weather had to do with cooking. I assume she was just, as my mom would say, “pulling my leg” on the humidity part.

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(mom and myself- late 1970s. This is the only picture I have of the two of us. the rest were lost in Katrina. But, do I really need any others?)As mom’s do, she tried to find a way to make me happy. Without me knowing she asked around trying the find a recipe for pralines that didn’t rely on a marble slab or the weather. Of course, in the early 1980s she didn’t have access to the internet. Recipes had to actually be passed from hand to hand. Simpler times for sure. Her persistence paid off, to my delight, and one day she came home with what she called an “easy praline” recipe. The only catch was that I would have to come up with the  pecans for the recipe.

Fortunately, we had a wonderful pecan tree in the yard that we loved. And, that tree loved us back every year by dropping so many pecans on the ground that we would fill up several paper grocery bags full. Some days I’d just stand on the around in the yard eating pecans. I got pretty good at cracking them against each other.

The pralines turned out fantastic. The tough part was having to ration myself to the two or three a day that mom allowed me to eat.My mom passed away in 1993. For years I kept her handwritten recipe. Somewhere along the way the recipe was lost, but I can still see the blue ink on the notebook paper and the title “Easy Pralines” written across the top of the page. Years later I dug around on the Internet and found the same basic recipe. It really is easy and doesn’t require a marble slab or a certain humidity level. I’ll include it below and hope you get a chance to try it out. Feel free to ask me any questions. And of course, let me know how they turn out and how many people you made smile with your homemade pralines.Easy Pralines: (this same basic recipe is online in many places, but I’ll include my tips) 1 package butterscotch pudding (NOT instant, cook and serve) 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup evaporated milk 1 tablespoon butter 1 1/2 cups pecans (pieces or halves) Mix sugar, pudding, milk and butter in medium saucepan. It’s best to use a non-stick pan of you have one. Cook on medium heat, constantly stirring, until boiling. Turn down heat to medium and bring to 234 degrees. Some would say use a candy thermometer. I don’t have a candy thermometer but do have an instant read thermometer that I use for the grill. This works great). Remove from heat and add the pecans. Now, comes the hard part. Beat with a wire whisk until thickened. The obvious question is how thick. Rather than how thick the best way to judge it is by the color of the mixture. When you remove the mixture from the heat it will be shiny. As you start to stir it with the whisk the shine will go away and turn dull. At that point, you can start to spoon the mixture on to wax paper.You have to move fairly quickly at this point because the mixture will start to harden in the pot. If you’ve stirred it long enough they will harden within thirty minutes and peel off the wax paper very easily. The official instructions would say to let harden overnight. I’d say there is no chance that I’ve ever gone that long. As soon as they can peel off the paper I’m “testing” a few.                               

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This recipe will make about two dozen pralines. Feel free to raise or lower the amount of pecans. Just remember, they aren’t really pralines without pecans. I hope you find as much joy as I do in sharing pralines with those around you. The world needs more smiles and I’ve yet to see someone NOT smile when eating a praline. May you and your family find many blessings in the New Year. And now that I truly appreciate the opportunity you give me to assist with all of your precious metals investments.

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