GRANDJOHN'S BUTTERMILK PRALINE RECIPE
A Favorite from my book Prêt-à-Party
Makes approximately 24 medium pralines
2 cups sugar
¾ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine the sugar, buttermilk, cream, and baking soda. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring just enough to keep the mixture from burning, especially as it thickens. Periodically test to see if the mixture is done by lifting the spoon and dropping a couple of drops into a cup of cold water. It is done when the drops form a soft ball in the cold water or the temperature registers 235 to 245°F on the candy thermometer, usually between 15 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, butter and salt. Beat until thick and creamy. Quickly add the pecans and stir to incorporate. Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely before serving.