Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Butterscotch Pralines

This week’s host for Sweet Melissa Sundays is Tess of Cookin’ Chemist.


Here is Tess with her husband Derek. What a cute couple!

Tess is in her forth year of Pharmacy School. Derek graduated recently and now has his Pharmacy degree. Congrats to Derek and best of luck to Tess in her studies!

Tess selected Butterscotch Pralines from the book


You can find the recipe on her blog, Cookin’ Chemist.
Don’t forget to stop by the other Sweet Melissa Sundays Bakers posts to see their Butterscotch Praline creations.
What is a Praline?



Praline is a family of confections made from nuts and sugar syrup.



Working with sugar…a little challenging for me! Working with sugar successfully, takes practice.


One of my favorite gadgets when cooking with sugar: A candy thermometer…it’s a godsend!
As the sugar bubbled, I decreased and increased the heat slightly as needed.


“No mixing” was part of the instruction….oh, how I wanted to stir!!!!
Butterscotch morsels really added a nice dimension to the praline.
One of the things I do…call it a tip…
is to TOAST NUTS before using in baking or confectionary use.
It brings out the essence of the nut flavor.
Pecans are added to sugar and butterscotch mixture.

As I proceeded to make the pralines, I noticed that they looked like cookie dough as I scooped them on the parchment lined tray with a small size ice cream scooper. After checking the internet for photos of pralines, I noticed that they don’t look like this at all. Oh no!
So, I put them back in the saucepan, melted them down and spooned them back onto the parchment lined tray. I was thrilled that I was able to redeem the batch without starting all over again from scratch.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:


excerpt from Southern CandyMakers

What’s the best way to store pralines?
The best way to keep pralines is airtight. You don’t have to keep them cool, as they will not melt until they’re more than 200°F. Because we don’t use any preservatives, it’s best to enjoy your pralines with two three weeks after they’re made. They won’t exactly go bad after that, but the sugar begins to re-crystallize and they lose some of their delicious creaminess.

Why are there white spots on my pralines?

The second we scoop the molten sugar pralines onto the marble slab, the sugar begins to revert to its original crystalline form. The re-crystallization is what makes the white spots appear on pralines. We don’t use any preservatives, so we suggest that you eat our pralines within two to three weeks before they have too long to re-crystallize.

Is a praline a nut?
The praline is the candy, not the nut. Pecans are the nuts that are traditionally in New Orleans pralines. We do make praline pecans, which are individual pecans coated with a thin layer of creamy, sugary candy.

In this country, we consider a praline to be a traditional southern candy made from sugar, pecans, and some kind of dairy. We use fresh cream, sugar, butter, and jumbo pecan halves in our pralines, which makes a creamier, less brittle praline. In European countries, however, praline is a creamy-textured preparation of chocolate and finely ground nuts, more along the line of a ganache, which is usually used to fill chocolates or pastries.


There are several ways to pronounce Praline. But…all I’m interested in is the taste…they are DELISH!

Excellent choice, my dear blogger friend, Tess!



# # #
Just a note: This is my last post with Sweet Melissa Sundays.

It was a great experience! Met some really nice bakers!

I will be putting all my energies into my upcoming projects.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I will be attending The French Culinary Institute in New York City in the Fall 2010. See post about it HERE.

I bought the textbook, THE FUNDAMENTAL TECHNIQUES OF CLASSIC PASTRY ARTS by The French Culinary Institute and plan on testing recipes this summer.


I also plan on baking breads. I will be using (among others) the book, BAKING ARTISAN BREAD by Ciril Hitz. This book even has a DVD. You can visually see the techniques of baking bread. Cool stuff!

These projects will keep me busy this summer…and I’m lovin’ every minute!
I am in my zen...



Peace in baking,

Carmen

Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul

18 comments:

Gloria said...

Carmen...your pralines look great. Nice job on saving them with reheating them. Great tip on toasting the nuts first. I have done that in other recipes, but didn't think of it for this one. Sorry to hear you won't be participating in SMS anymore. Best of luck in your future endeavors! Happy Baking!

Candy Girl said...

Your pralines look fantastic! I hate to hear you are leaving SMS, but congrats on going to cooking school! I'm completely jealous. Good luck!

Sweet and Savory said...

You are one impressive gal.

You saved my pralines by what you shared at SMS. Thank you. I really thought, I was going to have a complete failure. Watching Martha Stewart was good but what you wrote was even better.

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Gorgeous pralines...I could take a dozen right about now.

Cheers!

Stephanie said...

Ooh what a cool candy thermometer you have, much more high tech than mine! I love it! I'm with you - I wanted to stir it so badly! It was hard to resist.

Flourchild said...

Thank you for all the information and tips on pralines. I really enjoyed reading your post. I love your blog!
I so don't remember the part where we were NOT supposed to stir..HA that must have been my problem!
Your pralines look fantastic!

Julie said...

Great post!!! Your pralines look great. I want a digital candy thermometer! Congrats on culinary school! I am envious. We'll miss you in SMS!

sweetlife said...

great pralines, congrats on your new classes..wow you will be in baking zen..have fun

sweetlife

Tiff said...

Great post! Your pralines look beautiful. I am so excited to make these. So sad to hear you aren't going to be joining us on Sundays anymore but I look forward to following your adventures (and living vicariously)through your blog. Best of luck!

Mara... said...

Your pralines look delicious!!! I think toasting the nuts would be awesome. GOOD luck with everything in the future!! Glad I got to cross paths with you at Sweet Melissa Sunday!

Eliana said...

Your pralines look perfect. Congrats on going to FCI - I know you will do great.

Adventures in Domestic Cooking said...

Those looks like they would just melt in your mouth.
Yum.

Tracey said...

Fantastic job on the pralines Carmen! I'm so glad you were able to melt them down and form them again without having to re-do the recipe. The finished product looks like it was perfect!

Sorry to hear you're leaving SMS but best of luck at the Culinary Institute - sounds like a blast :)

Tessa said...

The recipes you end up "saving" are the ones I am typically most proud of! Thanks for a wonderful post, and good luck at the Culinary Institute. I've enjoyed getting to bake with you with SMS! Thanks for coming along thus far with us!

margot said...

Your pralines look great! Thanks for the information about them, too; I was curious about those white spots.

Best of luck with your next culinary pursuits - they sound fun!

Erica said...

They look delicious!!I would love to eat about 20 of those :)

Mary said...

Your pralines are a work of art! I really like your digital thermometer.
For whatever reason, my thermometers are prone to breaking. Do you think it could be me :-). Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

I am blocked from your Twitter comments so I can't follow you there.
I'll be as faithful as I can here.

Momgateway said...

butterscotch and pralines ...what a beautiful pairing!!

DO NOT USE MY PHOTOGRAPHY WITHOUT PERMISSION

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY (UNLESS INDICATED) IN THIS BLOG BELONGS TO CARMEN ORTIZ OF BAKING IS MY ZEN.

PLEASE DO NOT USE MY PHOTOGRAPHY WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)