Traditional Mexican pralines are made with piloncillo, a hard, cone-shaped, unrefined sugar from Mexico. Piloncillo is much harder than the brown sugar most North American cooks are used to, and must be chopped with a serrated knife before using.
Piloncillo SubstitutePiloncillo has a richer, stronger taste than most brown sugars. Sometimes, piloncillo is difficult to locate locally. When a recipe calls for piloncillo, 1 cup of dark brown sugar and two teaspoons of molasses can be substituted. The recipe below uses brown sugar and corn syrup.
If you have left over pralines, they are excellent crushed and sprinkled on vanilla ice cream. Or, if you enjoy making your own ice cream, you could add a cup of crushed pralines to the ice cream mixture just before pouring it into the freezer container.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 small can evaporated milk
- ½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
- 3 cups pecan halves
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Boil sugar, syrup and milk to a soft ball stage (234 degrees F). Add butter and flavorings. Beat until creamy and thickening. Add pecans, stir, then drop by tablespoonfuls on waxed paper or buttered dish. Work fast, or candy will be too firm to drop. Chill to firm and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Cut plastic wrap (clear or green) into six inch squares. Set the praline in the center, then gather up the corners. Twist in the center over the top of the praline. Tie with gold or silver cord, if desired. Makes about 18.