Sugary sweet, crunchy praline stuffed with plenty chunks of salted pecans. Pure holiday indulgence.
Hello m’lovelies! No, your mind isn’t tricking you: A new post on tuesday! I’ll be sharing recipes for edible Christmas presents everyday this week. In case you get in trouble with gifts, these ideas are perfect to make last-minute. Yesterday, I talked you through a gift for dark chocolate lovers with instructions on tempering chocolate. Today, we’ll satify the cravings of caramel lovers with this salted pecan praline. You’ll need just a few instructions and 5 simple ingredients.
Before we start on the praline, I need to warn you about hot sugar. We’ll be making a sugar syrup that gets dangerously hot. Therefor, make sure you have plenty of space to work on and be careful of kids running around the kitchen. Hot sugar syrup can cause severe burns. NEVER touch the hot sugar syrup with your hands.
To make the sugar syrup, you’ll need to combine sugar and water in a medium pan. When in doubt about the size, go for the bigger pan as hot sugar may splatter. The tedious thing about sugar syrup is that it’s prone to crystallization once the sugar has dissolved. This means you won’t get a smooth caramel liquid, but sandy sugar chunks. The latter is not what we’re going for. Don’t panic though, use one of these two tips and you’ll be fine:
- Carefully stir the sugar and water until all sugar is dissolved. Then, take a wet pastry brush and brush down the sugar on the sides of the pan. Leave the sugar syrup to cook (do not stir!) until it has a dark amber color.
- Combine the sugar and water. Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or a squeeze of lemon juice to the sugar syrup. Stir until dissolved and let the syrup cook until ik has a dark amber color.
I prefer the first method (because I don’t always have cream of tartar on stock), but see what works best for you.
Once the sugar has a dark amber color (146-154 C, hard crack stage), it’s time to add the baking soda and pour it into your mould with salted pecans. It’s easiest to use a candy thermometer to check the hard crack stage, but if you don’t have one you can try to do it by eye. The caramel needs to be dark amber. I have made caramel without a thermometer before, but it isn’t fail-proof. As a candy thermometer is really cheap, I recommend you to just go out and buy one. It saves you a whole lot of trouble and the thermometer can be used for many other recipes. I got my candy thermometer at Sostrene Grene for just 2 euros or so.
Finally, let the praline cool completely before breaking it into chunks and wrapping it up as a present. The praline is really sweet so I recommend breaking it into small pieces. Make sure every piece has a pecan in it. You could also wrap up one large piece of praline so the receivers of the presents can break it themselves. Whatever you like.
Do you prefer chocolate or caramel?
Edible Gift Round-up so far:
- 400 g sugar
- 120 mL water
- 15 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar (optional)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 230 g salted pecans
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread out the pecans evenly. Set aside.
- In pan, combine the sugar, water and cream of tartar*.
- Heat the mixture on medium-high heat until it reaches 146-154 C.
- Add the butter and baking soda. WATCH OUT: the caramel will foam up heavily.
- Pour the caramel evenly over the baking tray. DO NOT touch the caramel. Tilt the baking tray to spread it evenly if needed.
- *The cream of tartar is optional. See post for other options.