As is often the case with candy, the success of this recipe relies on heating the syrup to the proper temperature -- making a candy thermometer a must. For this recipe, courtesy of Kristine Bender, pastry chef at the District's Olives, don't skip the nonstick spray or the candy will become one with the pan.
21/2 cups pecan halves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Nonstick vegetable spray
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a nonstick baking sheet, toast pecans for about five minutes. Flip over the pecans and toast for another five minutes, or until fragrant. Allow to cool, then toss with 11/2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.
Combine light brown sugar, sugar, heavy cream, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cream of tartar in a heavy bottom 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
Melt butter and stir into syrup. Add vanilla extract. Fold in pecan halves, including the salt that was sprinkled on them.
Line another baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Drop warm pecan mixture in tablespoons onto baking sheet. If mixture begins to harden or crystallize in the pan, place on heat to re-warm. Let pralines cool until no longer sticky, at least 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Per serving: 203 calories, 1 gm protein, 22 gm carbohydrates, 13 gm fat, 19 mg cholesterol, 4 gm saturated fat, 203 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber