Real Southern Pralines
Here's my go to praline recipe its basic, no brown sugar, no evaporated milk just 6 basic ingredients. First I list the measures for a small batch which will be suitable for most people. However, I used to take them to work and give them away but after a short while so many people were asking for them I developed a big batch recipe so I give the measured ingredients for both.
2 cups of Sugar
2 cups of Pecans
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Corn Syrup
2 TBS of Butter
1 tsp of Baking Soda
First have a candy thermometer. Bring a quart of water to a boil and test the termometer make sure it reads 212F/100C. In order for Pralines or other fudge like candies to set properly it has to reach a temperature of 238F/115C.
You'll need a deep pot, near the end of the cooking process the addition of baking soda will just the volume of the liquid to double maybe almost triple and you will be dealing way extremely hot sticky stuff think napham.
First lay wax paper on your counter tops, after the candy has cooked you'll spoon it onto the wax paper.
Put all the ingredients in the pot and stir till the sugar is wet. Place a lid on the pot and cook on medium heat till it starts to steam. Remove the lid, clip on the candy thermometer making sure its at least a half inch for the bottom of the pot. Stir the mixture occasionally till the mass reaches 238F.
Take it off the burner and stir for about a minute, add the baking soda, as it foams up keep stirring so the mixture doesn't overflow the pot. Keep stirring until it thickens up, when ready to spoon out onto the wax paper it should have the consistency of peanut butter. If the candy thickens up too much just put it on low heat till it loosens up and ladle it onto the wax paper.
Now for a large batch....
5 Lbs of Sugar
1 Qt Buttermilk
1 Lb Pecans
1 TBSP Corn Syrup
4 TBSP Butter
2 Tsp Baking Soda
The process is the same. However, make sure you're a large deep pot. After I add the Baking Soda and the foaming subsides I place the pot in a water bath to help it cool quicker. Like before stir the mixture till it has the consistency of peanut butter and spoon it out onto wax paper. This batch with pot and all will weigh about ten pounds or more. So while spooning it out onto the wax paper it's like lifting weights for a half hour or so, so don't be afraid to half the batch.
With this or any fudge like candy if it tightens up to quickly just heat it up a little bit and stir till its the consistency of peanut butter. If the candy is too runny that is it doesn't set up quick enough, and the pralines are too flat just let them cool overnight peel them off the wax paper and put them back into the cooking pot with a maybe 2 ozs of milk and heat them up till the mixture reaches 238F/115C and spoon them out of clean wax paper. No need to add any baking soda when you have to redo a batch.