Our autumn praline pecans and pepitas, made with creamy brown sugar coating over toasted nuts, make a delicious dessert by themselves and they’re the perfect complement for your afternoon java. We love them so much that we decided to serve them along with our pumpkin whipped ricotta tartlets for an extra sweet touch! Make the praline nuts a day or two ahead, to save time on the day of your dinner gathering, but be sure to hide them … they disappear fast!
The key to making praline coated nuts is the be sure you have a candy thermometer and to be focused during the cooking time. Don’t worry, it’s short! You will need to keep an eye on the candy as it cooks, so that you don’t burn it or overcook it. We find that it really only takes about 5 minutes to get the candy to the 234 F on our stove, which is the perfect temperature for the praline mixture, but stoves and burners can vary significantly, so just keep your eye on the mercury level!
If you’d rather make round pralines, you can certainly do that. Simply drop the hot candied nut mixture by a soup spoonful onto the parchment rather than making a big sheet of it. Store the nuts in an airtight container for up to a week on the counter, or freeze them for using later.
Pecan & Pepita Pralines
- Candy thermometer
- 15 x 10 inch baking sheet
- Heavy 3-quart saucepan
- Waxed paper
- 2 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (can also use milk)
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or light agave syrup
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup pepitas, lightly toasted
- dusting Optional-sea salt grinder for the top of the candy
- Line your baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.
- Lightly toast pecans and pepitas in 350° F oven for about 5-7 minutes, or just beginning to brown and they smell fragrant and toasty. Set aside.
- Place butter, brown sugar, cream, and maple syrup (or agave) in the heavy saucepan.
- Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring often. Continue to boil for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 234° F on the candy thermometer. Stir often.
- Once the candy mixture reaches 234° F, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla, pecans and pepitas until the nuts are well coated. Continue to stir vigorously for about 2 minutes, to thicken the candy.
- Turn mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out evenly into one large sheet.. (Note-if you like the idea of adding a little sea salt flair, now is the time to lightly dust the top of the candy with your favorite salt using a grinder.)
- Allow the candy to sit for about 30 minutes or until firm. Break into smaller pieces and store in an air-tight container.
- Can freeze the pralines in an airtight container, too.