Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Kicking off 2016

Well here we are, 2016! And here I am wondering, where the heck did 2015 go?
2015 was a whirlwind of a year for sure. I hope that 2016 is just as interesting and exciting. But, I have to admit, I like a slow start to the year.
Every January, first resolution I make is to give myself a month off to rest, relax, brain storm, plan and....cook! I don't know about you, but after a long football season, craziness of the holidays and a busy end of year at work, I am ready for some peace and quiet. The month of January I like to be a hobbit. I go to work and run all my errands on the way home. I basically do everything I can to stay home all weekend long. So, the first weekend of this year I did just that, stayed home, shopped online, puttered around the house, read a book and tried a recipe I have always wanted to try.
I love Pralines, but have never given them a try on my own, so when I saw this recipe show up in my Facebook feed, I decided it was time to give it a try.
Oh I am so glad I did.
So. Darn. Good.
Creamy New Orleans Pralines
3 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 quart pecans

1) Combine sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup and salt in a VERY large pot and bring to a rolling boil.

2) Add soda~ this is where it gets interesting, and the large pot is very important. The mix will foam considerably after the baking soda is added. Stir and stir and stir  until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (when a ball is formed when dropped in cold water) or softball stage on a candy thermometer. I think I boiled it a bit longer than necessary. Did not effect the taste, but they got white spots after a couple days, I think this is because I they cooked a little too long.

3) Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until color changes and the candy thickens then stir in the pecans. I did a mix of chopped and whole, I like pecans in every bite!

4) Drop by teaspoons (or bigger!) onto a greased cookie sheet or wax paper (I like the wax paper best) Move quickly! This stuff hardens faster than you think!

So yummie, even my husband said that if he did not know they were homemade, he would ask me where I bought them! I am going to emphasize again, use a bigger pot than you think you need. I did not use quite as large a pot as I should have and as that sugar was foaming, boiling and splattering, I was dancing trying to keep it from spattering on my sleeping dogs. My sweatshirt was covered in sugar blobs, and my hands had more than a few burns.
Lesson learned.
When I am in the kitchen, I have dogs wrapped around my ankles. Both of them, especially if the oven is on, my Pittie girl Daisy loves to sleep in front of a warm oven and Bruno, well, he is always guarding my ankles. He is my little shadow, always with me. I usually don't mind my dogs around my ankles. I always enjoy their company and want them with me, but with all that bubbling sugar, well, it was a little nerve wracking. But still super fun to make. So if you have little ones or puppies like mine, just be careful.
I am definitely making these again. My daughter and I did not get our Christmas candy boxes mailed out as planned, so we decided to do Valentines day candy boxes instead, and these will HAVE to be a part of them!
Successful recipe, a perfect start to a new year!
I hope your having a peaceful, perfect start to your New Year!

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