Despite consistent attempts to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet, I almost daily fall subject to cravings for something sweet. My sweet tooth is especially enticed when it comes to sampling local flavors and treats from unique places like Italian tiramisu and gelato or New York style cheesecake. There are several popular desserts that come to mind when I think of the ‘south’ including sweet potato pie, key lime pie and pecan pralines.
Recipes for almond pralines were brought to New Orleans from French settlers. French chefs would roast almonds and coat them in brown sugar and butter, sometimes combining that mixture with chocolate, cinnamon, and other flavors. Since pecans grew wild in the southern states, pecan pralines were quickly developed. Today, several southern cities hold claim to making the best pralines including New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah.
Savannah pralines are best found on River Street at the independently owned candy shop- River Street Sweets. Free samples are given out whenever the shop is open making it a popular stop for tourists.
Although they do make chocolate pralines, the original brown sugar variety are definitely the crowd favorite. They melt in your mouth, especially when fresh from the store.
Of course I’d recommend making your own homemade version and enjoying in moderation. A rich indulgence, pralines will definitely satisfy your sugar craving.
1 lb light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c evaporated milk
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cups pecan halves
Mix sugar, salt, evaporated milk and butter in 2qt sauce pan. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add pecans and cook over medium heat to soft-ball stage (234 degrees), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool five minutes. Stir rapidly until mixture begins to thicken and coat pecans lightly. Drop from a teaspoon onto aluminum foil or lightly greased baking sheet to form patties. If candy becomes too stiff add a few drops of hot water to soften. Let stand until cool and set. Makes 44 small pralines.