I love new places. I love them more than new faces. I’ve realized that quite a bit over the last year.
New faces are hard…because they talk and need attention. New places are great because they’re just begging to be explored…and eaten from.
If you haven’t been to New Orleans, Louisiana, you have not yet lived. Seriously. New Orleans has a culture that is so vibrant, so beautiful, and so unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been.
Before I explored the beautiful city, I equated New Orleans with Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and topless ladies. Gosh, was I an ignorant fool!
New Orleans is full of comfort food, beautiful people, unique architecture, phenomenal music, and a whole lot of fun. Besides eating out, my favorite activity while I was there was the Rock ‘n Bowl with some killer Zydeco music. Gosh, I danced like a foolish wet noodle.
Because New Orleans is down South, they do food right. They do food delicious.
Crawfish etoufee. Yes, please.
Gumbo? Yes, definitely.
Alligator sausage po-boy? You had me at sausage.
Beignets? Take me to Café Du Monde and bring on the powdered sugar.
But these little guys, they are a delightful piece of sugary goodness.
Pralines. [Pronounced “pray-leans.”]
Now, before I went to NOLA, I thought that a praline was JUST a candied pecan. That is not true. These are pralines. They are not just candied nuts. They’re globs of candied nuts. And they are wonderful.
They are so sweet. Just thinking about them get my mouth watering and my cavities burrowing deeper into my uninsured teeth. Yikes!
Pralines are a candy. Don’t be scared. It will be fine. You don’t even need a thermometer for these guys.
Candies start with sugar. Lots of sugar.
We’re making these pralines for our small group. Buckle up.
via Joy the Baker’s cookbook
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups pecan halves
Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper, tin foil, or a handy-dandy silicone baking sheet. Set those guys aside. Start with a medium sauce pan with a heavy bottom. Combine both sugars, the salt, and the heavy cream and heat over medium heat. Stir. Cook until the mixture is bubbling through and smooth. The sugar should be fully incorporated. Add the butter and pecans. Stir until the butter has melted and then let the mixture boil for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. After 12-15 minutes, spoon the pecany-delicious mixture, by tablespoons, onto the prepared cookie sheets. Give them a little space because they will spread a bit. Allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the cookie tray.
Dig in and enjoy a taste of the beautiful city of New Orleans. Then buy a plane ticket and go there. Get some beignets and a café au lait at Café Du Monde and then go dance your white, noodle-y butt off at the Rock ‘n Bowl. Ride a street car to Jacquimo’s and get some Alligator Cheesecake. Leave a big tip.
If the above is not financially feasible, these pralines are a much more economical solution. But still. Put Nawlins on your Bucket List. And put one of these pralines into your belly.
You’ll thank me later.