Season’s Greetings! I love the holidays — the music, the decorations, the Salvation Army bell ringer, wrapping presents, the food — everything! I’m feeling particularly festive despite being afflicted with a miserable cold which has thrown a monkey wrench into most of my plans.
I swear, next year, I’m not scheduling anything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day so I can be “off,” or as off as a self-employed person can ever be. That way I can concentrate on all the fun stuff instead of driving myself — and my husband crazy — trying to finish a book that should have been finished months ago.
At least my holiday romance Nobody’s Cinderella is available for those who like a side order of Holiday Magic with their romance. (Available at most ebook sellers like Kindle eBook and Nook eBook. Audio Edition.)
Eat, Drink, Be Merry
Christmas is the time of year when I allow myself to cook — and eat — foods I normally avoid. One of these high fat/carb/sugar concoctions are those sweet morsels of southern temptation known as pralines.
Now, if you’re not from the South, you may not know about pralines. First, they’re pronounced praw-leens, not pray-leens. Whatever you call it, a praline by any other name is still delicious, fattening, and irresistible. As long as it’s made with butter, caramelized brown sugar, and tons of pecans. Oh, and that particular nut is pronounced puh-cahn. Not pee-cann. (I always tell non-southerners that the latter is a vessel in which to collect urine.)
Cookbook author Nathalie Dupree wrote in Southern Memories: “I can’t imagine a world without pralines.”
Me either! You just can’t grow up in the south without learning how to make pralines. Today, I’m going to share my secret family recipe for those yummy melt-in-your-mouth confections.
Joan’s Christmas Pralines
You need: heavy flat-bottomed saucepan, candy thermometer, cream or Pet Evaporated Milk, brown sugar, butter, pecans, something to spoon them onto like parchment paper, foil, or a silicone mat already spread on the counter and ready to go.
In the saucepan, combine:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup Pet Milk)
Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan so that the bulb rests in the liquid. Turn the heat on and bring mixture to a boil. Cook on medium heat to 238 degrees on the candy thermometer.
When 238 is reached, add:
1 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (Some people use pecan halves, but I find when they are broken into big pieces, you get more pecans per candy.)
Keep on the heat, and stir until butter melts and pecans are coated. Continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees.
At 245, remove immediately from heat. Quickly — before mixture seizes — spoon dollops of the mixture onto a silicone mat or parchment paper. The pralines will spread so try to use small spoonfuls until you get the hang of it and can make the size you want.
They crystallize as they cool. When completely cool, wrap each praline in a small paper doily or wax paper and store in airtight container. These make a wonderful gift, and they are simply scrumptious.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
(Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy Romances. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers and in audio at Audible and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks , a free subscription newsletter for writers, and Wordplay, a free subscription newsletter for readers. Info? Visit SlingWords by Joan Reeves or Joan’s Website.