First things first: Pronounce it PRAH-leen, not PRAY-leen. This variation on the basic praline uses a coffee-with-chicory-infused cream. If you're not fond of chicory, plain coffee is the way to go.
Make Ahead: Store the cooled pralines in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days before they begin to crystallize.
Servings: 3 dozen
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons ground coffee with chicory (preferably Community Coffee, French Market or Cafe du Monde brands)
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups pecan pieces
Combine the heavy cream and ground coffee with chicory in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or a gold-mesh coffee filter.
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup of the infused cream and both sugars, stirring until the sugars have completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 240 to 250 degrees; use a heatproof flexible spatula to gently push the mixture back and forth in the middle and around the edges occasionally. (If the mixture begins to crystallize, add 2 tablespoons of the remaining infused cream and cook, stirring, until the mixture loosens.
Add the pecans and turn off the heat. Give the mixture a final gentle stir, making sure to get into the bottom and corners of the pan and evenly distributing the nuts. Use a wooden spoon to drop 2-tablespoon portions of the praline mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, spaced at least 1 inch apart.
About halfway through the praline-forming process, what's left in the saucepan might begin to crystallize and stiffen. When that happens, add 2 tablespoons of the remaining infused cream and return the saucepan to medium heat, stirring until the mixture looks creamy and saucy. Then continue making the pralines.
Cool for 30 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to an airtight container between layers of wax paper or parchment paper.
Adapted from "DamGoodSweet," by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel (Taunton Press, November 2009).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.