I Heart Faces–Desserts

This week, at I Heart Faces, the emphasis is on desserts instead of faces. Long ago, in another part of my life, I used to be a good cook. I was in a “gourmet club” comprised of military wives for a couple of years. I took countless dishes of food in to FedEx stations to feed hungry couriers. I even took cake decorating classes and made cakes for friends. Now? I do good to buy organic “take and bake” cookies and pop them into the oven. I’m not sure where my cooking mojo went, but it is, for sure, gone. One tradition that only departed in the last couple of years was the holiday baking; I used to make cinnamon roll “wreaths” decorated with green icing and maraschino cherries, banana and pumpkin breads, and countless varieties of cookies and candies. Everyone who had even a nodding acquaintance with me could be guaranteed of being blessed with at least a small offering of sugary goodwill. Somehow, that whole tradition has disappeared, with one exception; I still make pralines. Sometime back in the 80’s, I got Paul Prudhomme’s first cookbook (first edition, no less). And when he came to Georgia for a cooking demonstration, I somehow ended up with enough time with him to not only get his signature but his wife’s as well. AND a hand-written list from him of his favorite restuarants in New Orleans, no less. I think he liked that fact there were many stained pages in the book, evidence that it didn’t just sit on a shelf looking pretty. I made gumbo regularly; unfortunately, when I took the cookbook to a training session in Memphis to make gumbo for my classmates, I left it behind at the hotel and it was never to be seen again. :<( But, I had typed out the praline recipe, which became an absolute favorite of my husband's and his business partner's (who calls it "Christmas crack"). Every year, I drag out the heavy dutch oven and bring the sugar and butter to a boil; every year the pralines disappear at an alarming pace. This year the first batch (which I photographed) was a little runny; the other two batches were near-perfect. I can say with assurance that, runny or not, these jewels will nearly put you in a diabetic coma as they waft you towards Heaven.
Here's the recipe:

1 c. brown sugar
2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 c. evaporated milk
1/4 stick butter
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. pecans, chopped
1/2 t. cream of tartar
Combine the butter, sugars, salt, and milk. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, wiping the crystals from the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat; add the cream of tartar and vanilla. Beat for 4 minutes; add pecans. Beat for 3-5 minutes more, until mixture begins to thicken. Drop by spoonfuls onto a piece of waxed paper, with about 4 inches of space between each spoonful. When the pralines cool and get firm, cut the waxed paper halfway between each one and wrap individually. (times are approximate; you have to make them a few times to get the feel of when they're ready).
Head on over to I Heart Faces for some absolutely beautiful food photography AND for the chance to “meet” the one and only Bakerella!

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Oh, that looks super yummy!!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Vanessa on April 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Oh yum. ❤

    Reply

  3. Love the bokeh in the background!

    Reply

  4. I love pralines! I love the depth of field in this shot.

    Reply

  5. Wow! Christmas crack and being wafted toward Heaven. Sounds like a winner! 🙂 Looks delicious.

    Reply

  6. Pam! You do so many exciting things. I love visiting. I love your stories and your pictures. And I MOST DEFINITELY love this treat. I know it is pure bliss! : )

    Reply

  7. Wow! Those look JUST like the pralines my dad makes every Christmas…yummy! And the recipe is very similar too. We can hardly ever wait for them to cool before pulling them off that wax paper! Great entry!

    Reply

  8. yum! and i love how you photographed this!! mmmm…

    Reply

  9. Posted by Dana on April 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    My sympathy to your Inner Baker. Mine’s gone too. Sad really…..I used to be good. {shrug} Oh well.

    Your picture is phenomenal though!

    Reply

  10. Yummy!Fantastic photo!

    Reply

  11. yummy in my tummy.

    Reply

  12. Pralines –hmmm, yummy!

    Thanks for your comment about my shot. 🙂 I actually took quite a number of shots, from different angles, before I got one the one that I liked. Then, because the background was really cluttered, I had to photoshop it out and use a plain background instead.

    Reply

  13. Yummy! I love making pralines!!

    Reply

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