Recently, I've had the privilege of baking along with several members of a baking group called Sweet Melissa Sundays. Each week one of the members chooses a recipe from the The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, and the plan is to keep going until we've baked all the way though the book. The recipes thus far have been great, and I've really enjoyed getting to know several bloggers in the group a little bit better.
This week is was my week to pick a recipe out of the book. Since I've only been a member since March, I was both excited and a little nervous to pick a recipe knowing that 48 other bloggers would be scheduled to bake my pick. Out of the beautiful layers cakes and delicious sounding pies, I ended up choosing butterscotch pralines for 3 reasons:
1) It sounded like a pretty quick, simple recipe, and I knew that we'd be packing to move to Arizona over Memorial Day weekend.
2) I love butterscotch anything
3) Melissa describes that they are great crumbled over ice cream.
SOLD! Both the hubby and I are suckers for anything that goes with ice cream :-) Having never actually eaten pralines before, I did a quick google search to check out the history of pralines. It sounds like the idea originated in France and was first made with almonds, but despite the French origins, the candies now consist of pecans and are most associated with New Orleans. I did wonder a little bit because it seems like most other recipes for pralines call for either butter, cream, or both, but I proceeded with Melissa's recipe as written.
The recipe basically consists of cooking a sugar mixture to a soft ball temperature and then stirring in the butterscotch chips and the pecans. As I thought, it went pretty quickly. I only made a half batch at first, but I was done with the first recipe start to clean up in about 30 minutes (my husband begged me to make more a couple days later). I'll give you a short pictorial presentation below :
Don't the butterscotch chips look yummy! I love butterscotch!
Cooking the sugar mixture and making sure I cooked it exactly to soft ball stage. See the word soft just above the metal piece of the thermometer below :-)
The praline mixture in the bowl. Sorry, this one isn't the greatest picture, but I was trying to work quick. They set up fast!
The verdict: we really enjoyed them! They are pretty sweet on their own, but as promised, are GREAT served over vanilla ice cream. I don't have an ice cream freezer to make my own ice cream, but I can only imagine that it'd be that much better over homemade ice cream. I hope everyone enjoyed them as much as we did! Be sure to stop by the SMS page and check out everyone's treats!
From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. butterscotch morsels
1-1/4 c. pecan pieces
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil, without further stirring, until the mixture reaches 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
Immediately transfer the hot mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in the butterscotch morsels on medium speed until the morsels are melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the pecans.
Immediately drop by tablespoonfuls (or a 1-ounce (#40) cookie scoop) onto parchment paper or aluminum foil. (If the mixture gets to firm, you can put it back in the saucepan and melt it carefully while stirring over low heat.) Let the pralines stand at room temperature to set, 5-10 minutes.
Pralines keep in an airtight container at room temperature, layered between sheets of wax paper, for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 dozen.