Monday, May 15, 2017

Pralines, Pigs, and Stack Quilt Pattern

Praline making has always been a specialty of my husband, but over the years he has gradually entrusted me with his recipe. Although his recipe is pretty much perfect, I am not, so there are times that "soft-ball stage" becomes either too gooey or too hard. Since his Mom has a bit of dementia, doesn't like to shop, and loves sweets, we decided to make pecan pralines for her Mother's Day gift. And this time they turned out perfectly. She loves them! These stick pretty close to my earlier versions (here and here); I just added more pecans, less butter, more vanilla - I tweak a little each time! Be forewarned: I guarantee a sugar high.

Pecan Pralines
Yields about 2 dozen

2-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I use dark)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup half and half (can use evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 stick salted* butter (4 tablespoons)
2 cups whole or coarsely chopped toasted pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla
*If you don't use salted butter, add 1/8 teaspoon salt

In 3-quart saucepan, bring first 3 ingredients to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer registers 238 – 240 degrees, or soft-ball stage.

Remove pan from heat and add butter; do not stir. Let stand until candy thermometer reaches 150 degrees. Add pecans and vanilla.

Using wooden spoon, stir vigourously until candy begins to thicken. This may take awhile. Drop mixture with a tablespoon onto waxed paper. Let stand until firm.

(If mixture thickens too quickly, put pan on low heat and stirs until mixture warms and become more liquid again.)

You know how you see an Instagram photo and making it becomes an obsession? That happened to me with Modern Handcraft's "Stack Quilt". I really don't consider myself a modern gal, but I am finding more and more that modern patterns appeal to me. In this case I was thrilled when the pattern was released, AND I received a 20% discount by using a code that was sent for signing up for Nicole's newsletter. I love the blue denim version, as pictured here, but you can make the denim part white, and there is a whole new look. The discount is good through Wednesday, May 17, so if you are interested go to her website and sign up for her newsletter!

"In other news", we now live in an area that is often beset with feral hogs. I have seen them three times in the yard during the day. They always take off running when I clap my hands. But recently they have been rooting in the yard at night (see picture above). We live on 5 acres with my husband's sister, mother, and nephew, and their yard is also being torn up. The hogs are looking for grubs, roots, bulbs, mushrooms, and grass, and they leave holes in the ground and larger areas that look like they have been roto-tilled. One night my nephew forgot to burn the trash, and the hogs ravaged two trash bags. Feral hogs are not protected, but we really don't want to pay to trap them and have someone remove them, nor do we want to start shooting at them at night (not a good time to shoot a gun). So we are exploring different ways to discourage them. Ah, the joys of country living!


  1. I have not had pralines since I was a little girl. My grandmother loved pralines and divinity, my mother did not, so I only got a nibble when we visited my grandma. Your post brought back that sweet little memory (not to mention a new craving for pralines!).

    1. My Mom and Granny used to make divinity and I can still hear them fussing if it didn't turn out just right. It was quite a production and usually took both of them standing over the pot! I didn't care for it back then, but now I love it and never get any. I'd give anything to have some of theirs now!

    2. I feel the same. I have my grandmother's cookbook. I should look up her recipe and make some.

  2. Those pralines look yummy, and sound like the perfect gift for your MIL! I like that Modern Handcraft pattern, too! Are you going to make it with the darker background or a lighter one? And hope you find a solution to the feral hogs - it's too bad they do so mich damage.

    1. I'm thinking about making it with a dark blue background, in fact I love everything about that picture!


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