|Dad’s handwritten recipe|
My dad was not a chef. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I remember him showcasing any culinary expertise: carving the Thanksgiving turkey; carving the Christmas Prime Rib; cranking homemade ice cream on the 4th of July; turning the marinated chicken quarters on the Weber Grill; and making a double batch of pecan pralines in December.
I don’t know where the recipe originated or even why it was special to Dad, but about a week before Christmas he would begin his annual candy-making ritual.
His candy thermometer was as old as the pot, and I think only used this one-time a year.
He had a red kodak kitchen timer that he would faithfully set when beating in the butter and vanilla.
My favorite part was licking the pan of the caramel, sugary goodness. A delicacy I reluctantly sacrificed when my son was old enough to appreciate this special treat.
I have yet to try to make these delicious morsels on my own. I found Dad’s process rather intimidating. Perhaps this year I will try my luck, anticipating a few mishaps but knowing that practice will make perfect.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 “heaping” tablespoon butter
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups pecans (broken in thirds)
- Mix the sugar, soda, and milk in a large pot and boil over medium heat to soft ball stage (235 degrees on a candy thermometer). Be sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Remove from heat immediately and add butter and vanilla.
- Beat for five minutes using the wooden spoon.
- Add the pecans and stir just enough to coat each piece with the syrup.
- Drop on waxed paper with a teaspoon. Let cool.
- Makes 30-35 pralines.
|Graddy – my daughter’s shortened version
of Granddaddy – carrying on his candy tradition