With these last little (unwelcome) bouts of winter-y weather in the beginning of Spring this year, I've been yearning for anything that reminds me of warmer weather. I grumpily took the dog for walks, stomping on freshly laid snow and cursing myself for getting a pedicure and pulling out my Summer footwear. And then I remembered! Hidden behind way too many jars of honey, and some jams that I had canned, was the final jar of summer peaches, canned at the peak of perfection!
I waffled for awhile, wondering if it was too far from peach season and if I'd be sad if I didn't have any next month by opening them now. But I had to. And, in spite of the cold weather, I drove to the store and bought some of my favorite vanilla bean ice cream--the perfect pairing to Summer peaches. But something else was needed (texturally) to add to this pairing, and thus I decided to make praline pecans.
Dangerously delicious eaten by the handful, these pecans are even better atop some vanilla bean ice cream and fruit. Enjoy :)
makes about 2 cups
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves
coarse salt, for sprinkling, if desired
Line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small sauce pan, heat granulated sugar, brown sugar, and heavy cream over medium heat. Stir until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to medium-low and heat the mixture until it reaches 235 degrees F (you will need a candy thermometer for this part). Do not stir at this point, but you can gently swirl the pan every so often, if necessary.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla extract. Stir in pecan halves. Spread pecans onto prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle with some salt, if desired. Wait until dry before breaking them apart and consuming.