Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chocolate Pecan Pralines - NOLA recipe

Made pralines I did...
Chocolate ones included there are...
Tasty they turned out...
Taking them to church I am...
Be jealous you should...

Last Saturday, I helped shepherd half of the kids participating in the Crescent City Choral Festival to various restaurants and had a great time, in spite of the heat. One of the places I'd never been to, was the New Orleans School of Cooking. The large group was split into smaller groups and our group was treated to a FABULOUS demonstration by Chef Kevin. He is HILARIOUS!
The beginning of the demonstration and meal included watching how to make pralines. I love them, but had never made them before and since they gave us a packet of several recipes, I thought that I'd try it. One of my summer goals included learning how to make Jambalaya and several other New Orleans dishes so since I'm falling behind on those projects, this sort of helps, right?

SOOOOOOOOO, here is the New Orleans School of Cooking Recipe, which they freely give out, and I hope you try it and enjoy deliciousness!

1 1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk
6 tbsp.  butter (3/4 stick)
1 1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts etc., roasted optional)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients and bring to a "softball" stage *(230-240 degrees), stirring constantly
Remove from heat. [Here, Chef Kevin said stir again a little and now is when you can add flavors such as coconut, almond, peanut butter and my personal favorite - two handfuls of chocolate chips! He also said that if the mixture gets too hard too fast, you can add a splash of milk to help.]
Stir until mixture thickens (again, stirring constantly), becomes creamy, cloudy, and pecans stay suspended in mixture. Spoon out on buttered wax paper, aluminum foil, or parchment paper. When using wax paper, be sure to buffer with newspaper underneath, as hot wax will transfer to whatever is beneath.

NOTE: To roast pecans, bake them on a sheet pan at 275 degrees for 20-25 minutes until slightly browned and fragrant!

Praline sauce (add 1/2 cup corn syrup to mixture.) Chocolate covered praline candy. Flavored pralines (chocolate, coffee, brandy, etc.)

*** Makes 1-50 Pralines depending on size***

*** Chef Kevin also suggested crumbling pralines over bakes sweet potatoes and adding bacon. I imagine you could make the bacon candied if the pecans were crushed more and the mixture hardened around it. I know Elizabeth's Restaurant in the Bywater serves THE BEST praline bacon EVER. 

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