Sure, candied pecans are great, but if you want to make them irresistible, try coating them in some melt-in-your-mouth, brown sugar, buttery goodness. Praline Pecans are a simple stovetop recipe, equipped with a soft, praline candy coating and boasting major sweet and salty vibes.
These Praline Pecans make a perfect gift during the holidays, are way cheaper than buying pre-made candied pecans, and can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes. These are also a great addition to a dessert charcuterie board, and if you just can't get enough, try our Praline Cake for even more sweet pecan goodness.
HOW TO MAKE PRALINE PECANS
The first thing you want to do is get a large baking sheet prepared with a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. This step is very important in this recipe, as it keeps the pecans from sticking to the pan and ensures easy removal!
It is crucial that you have an instant-read, digital thermometer, or candy thermometer on hand for this recipe. Candy making is very precise, and the temperature of the sugar is quite important!
Once you have your pan prepared and your thermometer on standby, it's time to whip up that easy praline mixture. This candy coating consists of granulated sugar, light brown sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and salt. You'll add all ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan and place it over medium-high heat.
Allow your praline mixture to boil, stirring often so that the bottom doesn't burn and sugar crystals do not stick to the sides or the bottom of the pan. Sugar can reach extremely high temperatures and result in fairly serious burns. It is best to use a long-handled spoon for this task to keep both your hands and arms out of the way of any popping sugar bubbles!
Once the sugar mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to either medium or medium-low to maintain a rapid simmer. You will allow your sugar mixture to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the temperature reaches between 230-235°F.
The goal here is to get our praline sugar mixture to a temperature range that falls between the thread stage and the softball stage. In the thread stage of candy making, the sugar mixture is a syrupy consistency once cooled. In the softball stage of candy making, the cooled sugar can easily form into a ball and can be easily flattened when pinched between the fingers.
We don't want our pecans to meld together and form into clumps as if we were making praline candies. Instead, we need that sugar consistency to be a little less fudge-like and a bit runnier. This will help us to achieve a consistency that will allow the praline coating to adhere to the pecans, rather than bind them together.
When your sugar mixture reaches the desired temperature, add your pecans and gently stir for about 2 minutes. You should feel the sure mixture slightly thickening at this point.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the pecans to the prepared pan and use two forks to spread them apart and separate them.
HOW TO STORE PRALINE PECANS
Praline Pecans should keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container, stored in a cool, dry place, or in the refrigerator. The pecans will not go bad after 3 weeks but they may lose some of their delicious qualities as the sugar begins to re-crystalize and they become harder to chew.
You can also freeze Praline Pecans for up to 3 months in an airtight container. When preparing the candies for freezing, be sure they are not touching each other, and line the sides and bottom of the container with wax paper to ensure easy removal. It is also important to make sure your container seels completely to avoid frost building up inside. If you're stacking multiple layers of Praline Pecans in a container, separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper.
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These Praline Pecans are the perfect make-ahead gift or treat for a holiday party! They're incredibly tasty and can be ready in 20 minutes!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- ¾ cup evaporated milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 cups pecan halves
Have ready a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Add the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and salt to a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, stirring often. Be careful -- this mixture is VERY hot.
As soon as the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium/medium-low to maintain a rapid simmer. Stir often, taking care to scrape down the sides and bottom of the pan.
Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the sugar reaches a temperature of 230-235°F. Do not let your mixture exceed this temperature range or it will harden too quickly.
Reduce the heat to low, add the pecans, and gently stir for 2 minutes.
After the 2 minutes is up, immediately transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and use two forks to separate and spread them out. Allow to cool and set up for 1 hour.