Creamy Bananas Foster Pecan Pralines
This post is sponsored by Diamond of California Nuts.
Pralines! New Orleans’s famous candy – or is it a cookie? I think of them as more of a hybrid with their rich and nutty flavor and cookie-like texture. And at this time of year pralines can be bundled together as a holiday gift or as an enticing new alternative for a holiday cookie swap.
In the French Quarter of New Orleans the cobblestone streets are lined with stalls peddling t-shirts and other tourist knick-knacks as well as local favorites. When I was there, I bought a variety of brands of the famous pralines at one of the shops so that I could taste test them for myself. My favorite was a creamy bananas foster version of the sweet treat. I brought back a bunch of them to California, but they didn’t last long. I knew I needed to recreate itthese pralines so that I didn’t have to travel all the way back to Louisiana just to satisfy my sweet tooth.
This creamy version of the classic has the texture of fudge but with a nutty twist and with banana flavoring mixed in. I use Diamond Nuts chopped pecans to add texture. Cooking sugar can be fickle because so much of it comes down to exact temperatures. The goal of this recipe is to get the sugar to the point where it crystallizes but remains pliable similar to maple syrup candy. I tried a few different versions for cooking methods and times and the best consistency was achieved by bringing the sugar mixture to the “soft ball stage” then letting it cool slightly before spooning the pralines out onto parchment paper to cool.
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 cups Diamond Nuts chopped pecans
1 teaspoon banana extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a medium saucepot over medium heat fitted with a candy thermometer, stir together the sugar, evaporated milk, molasses, corn syrup, butter and ¼ cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly so it doesn’t overflow, until thick syrup forms and the temperature reads 240ºF (or soft ball stage).
Stir in the pecans and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the temperature again reaches 240ºF. Stir in the banana extract and cinnamon and remove the pot from heat.
Let sit until the mixture cools to 200ºF. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and drop rounded tablespoons onto the paper, leaving about 3 inches between each mound, as the pralines will spread. Allow the pralines to set and cool completely and solidify, about 2 hours.
Makes 2 dozen.
This post is sponsored by Diamond of California Nuts – all opinions expressed are my own.