Kristine Kidd

Cabin Life, Cooking, Improving Lives

Maple Nut Pralines

To avoid the crowds of holiday shoppers and to give personal gifts, I have started preparing goodies in my kitchen. Today I boiled up a batch of Maple-Nut Pralines. It took me only half an hour to turn out a large batch of confections, and my house smells like maple sugaring time in Vermont.

Pralines are a New Orleans-style candy fashioned from sugar, cream, and pecans. I put my own flavor stamp on these sweets by replacing the standard white sugar with pure maple syrup, stirring in walnuts in addition to pecans, and adding a pinch of nutmeg for a festive touch.

I plan to concoct more candies and bake cookies all during December, and will post some of the recipes on this blog. They will be treats I have thought up over the years and enjoy making again and again. These recipes, and many more, can also be found in Cooking at Home. I am going to thumb through the book again, to select a cookie to make for the friends I will be visiting this weekend.

Maple-Nut Pralines

Kristine Kidd
Stacked on a plate or piled in a decorated canister, these make a wonderful host gift or snack for a buffet table.
Makes about 2½ dozen candies
Course Dessert
Servings 2.25 dozen candies

Ingredients
  

  • Vegetable oil for pans
  • 2 cups 16 ounces pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons, if needed, heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup 4 ounces walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup 4 ounces pecans, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Generously oil 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  • In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the maple syrup and 1 cup cream. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan. Bring to a boil and boil the mixture until the thermometer registers 238°F, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to 220°F, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir just until melted and the mixture is creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the walnuts, pecans, and nutmeg. Immediately, using a tablespoon, scoop up spoonfuls of the mixture and drop onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them evenly. If the mixture becomes too dry to drop, add 2 tablespoons cream and stir over low heat until melted.
  • Let the candies cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Notes

Tip
Grating nutmeg: The flavor of freshly grated nutmeg is unmatched. Whole nutmegs look like unshelled pecans. Grate your nutmeg, if possible, on a specialized nutmeg grater, which has tiny rasps and usually a small compartment for storing a nutmeg or two. Or, grate the nutmeg with a microplane grater.
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