Holiday Pecan Pralines

2 cups sugar plus 1 heaping kitchen spoon

1/3 stick butter

2 1/2 cups pecans

3/4 cup milk

1 pinch baking soda

1 tsp. Vanilla

  1. Mix 2 cups sugar & milk in large pan (4 quarts or larger).
  2. In small iron skillet caramelize 1 heaping kitchen spoon (approximately 1/4 cup) of sugar on low to medium heat.
  3. Heat the sugar and milk mixture on high.
  4. When sugar/milk mixture begins to boil add a pinch of baking soda.
  5. After this mixture bubbles up and again comes to a boil add liquid caramelized sugar.
  6. Cook several minutes.
  7. When mixture makes a soft ball in cold water add butter, vanilla and pecans.
  8. Remove from fire and BEAT until it hardens around the edges (usually about 5 minutes). Do not use an electric mixer, since it would break pecans. You may want to have a helper available to take turns beating.
  9. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper. Pralines should continue to harden as they cool.

I have heard these keep for weeks but they are always eaten before I can test this statement.