After spending only 10 months in the development stage, I proudly present to you, my long-suffering readers, the recipe for the most expensive candy you'll ever think about making--Pecan Pralines, done Nitrocat style.
North to South Pecan Pralines
Silicone treated parchment paper
candy thermometer (I prefer the professional type where the bulb is housed in a metal frame--cost $10)
Vehicle, fuel, overnight bag and hotel reservations
3/4 c butter
1/2 c white sugar
1 c. confectioners sugar
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c bourbon maple syrup*
1/8 t salt
3 c pecan pieces
2 t bourbon or rum
*Drive to the General Store in Minnetonka, MN and purchase the Bourbon Maple Syrup that they sell there. Drive home. (cost of 900 mile overnight trip plus syrup: $276.50)
Cover counter top with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, blend white sugar, confectioner's sugar, brown sugar and salt with a fork or pastry cutter until fine with no lumps. Measure other ingredients and have them ready to hand.
In a 2 quart heavy saucepan (with candy thermometer in place), melt butter over medium low heat. Add milk and syrup and stir until well combined with a heat resistant or wooden spatula (I like the ones with the flat bottom). From this point on, you must not stop stirring! Don't forget to move the thermometer occasionally and stir behind it too. Slowly add the sugars and mix well. Cook on medium low heat to 238* (soft ball stage). Cooking time should take about 10 minutes. Remove thermometer and remove from heat. Add the bourbon and stir well. Add the pecans and stir until fully incorporated. Working quickly, drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 dozen.
Now drive to Louisiana to share with your friend. Try not to eat all the Pralines before you get there. (cost for 1700 mile round trip...oh, nevermind. You get the idea.)
*It is also possible to mail order this syrup from Three Rivers Farm, but where's the fun in that?