Making candy, especially with a thermometer, is not one of my strong points, but these pralines always turn out well – buttery and full of toasted pecans.  I first made them in 1986, using a recipe card from Saco Buttermilk Powder.  I like this powder very much and use it a lot in lieu of having a quart of buttermilk in the refrigerator all the time.

BUTTERMILK PRALINES

  • Servings: Approx. 15, depending on size
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  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Saco Buttermilk Powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1-1/2 cups toasted pecan halves
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Line a large cookie sheet with foil and butter the foil.

In a large heavy pot (like a Dutch oven), combine the sugar, soda, salt and buttermilk powder.  Stir in the cup of water. Insert a candy thermometer and bring mixture to a boil over high heat (#9 on my gauge), stirring constantly until mixture reaches 210 degrees on the thermometer.

Reduce heat to medium  (#6) and stir in butter and pecans.  Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture reaches 230 degrees on the thermometer.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Allow mixture to stand in pan for 5 minutes, then beat with a wooden spoon for 5 to 8 minutes until mixture loses its gloss and begins to thicken.  Drop in mounds on the buttered foil and allow to cool.

Makes about 15 pralines, depending on size.

This candy is forgiving – even when it’s not perfect, it’s so delicious with its buttery caramelized sugar holding together big toasted pecans that no one notices any little flaws.  Just the kind of candy for me to make.