At this very moment, I am sitting on a plane heading New Orleans, getting ready to eat all the flavors that the city can offer. Pecans are native to the Southern United States, and New Orleans is the city where the American recipe for pralines originated. So what better was to celebrate my time in the Big Easy than with Louisiana’s favorite candy?
Pralines probably originated in France around 1600, although at the time they were made with hazelnuts or almonds, and used caramelized sugar instead of nougat. French settlers brought the recipe for pralines to Louisiana, and the abundance of pecan trees made a perfect match for these creamy candies. Today, the word praliné is used in France and Switzerland to describe various centers coated in chocolate, although chocolate isn’t used in the American version.
You might remember earlier this year when I tried to make caramel from scratch, but I didn’t cook it long enough so it didn’t solidify properly. A rational person would recognize their mistake and invest in a candy thermometer before attempting to make another confection. But instead I tried the less-precise “cold water test,” and because I wasn’t exactly sure what to look for, I missed the mark slightly. This recipe doesn’t mention anything about cooling the pralines in the fridge, and other recipes that I referenced only say to let them stand until completely cool. Unfortunately for me, “completely cool” was still not solid and impossible to pick up with your hands, but it might work drizzled over ice cream.
How interesting that with my final post of 2018, I have become the very thing that bothers me the most about food blogs: the person who says, “I didn’t follow the recipe and it turned out terrible!” In the future, I will avoid making desserts with caramel-like consistencies unless I have the proper equipment. This was truly the only recipe that I couldn’t salvage in some way, but 1 recipe out of 24 that I tried this year isn’t bad at all!
Cheers to all the delicious food from this year, and stay tuned for more (mostly) vegetarian recipes coming in 2019!
“There’s no other treat that’s more Southern, definitely none that’s more New Orleans than pralines.”