Making pralines is an annual holiday tradition at my house. I wouldn't dream of getting through the Christmas season without making a least a couple of batches of the official Louisiana dessert. But I'm always puzzled as to why it's only around the holidays that I'm inspired to make them. I guess it's because I always heard that pralines are difficult to make if it's humid outside. (If you're in Louisiana right now, you're probably laughing, because it is always humid, even in "winter")

My favorite recipe for pralines is one I got from the Baton Rouge Advocate many, many years ago. It has never failed me, even on humid days. The recipe is below, along with a video, not of the same recipe, but for those of us who need a visual. Good luck with your pralines, and let us know how they turn out!

Mrs. Frenzel's Microwave Pralines

1/2 pint whipping cream

1 pound light brown sugar

Pinch of cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

2 cups pecans

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine whipping cream and sugar in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl. Add cream of tartar and salt. Microwave at full power for 13 minutes. (I use a 900-watt microwave that has a turntable.) At the same time, slowly toast pecans in a 350 F oven (a toaster-oven will work), turning frequently so they do not burn. Remove whipping-cream mixture from microwave and remove pecans from oven. Add butter to whipping-cream mixture. Stir quickly until butter is melted and mixture begins to lose its gloss. Add vanilla and pecans. Quickly turn out by spoonfuls onto aluminum foil. Makes about 24 pralines



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