This week's SMS assignment was to make Butterscotch Pralines. I've never made candy before because (1) I had an unfortunate accident with hot sugar when I was in the fifth grade, and (2) Most candy recipes say to make them on a cool, dry day. I lived my entire life in the Deep South, and I now make my home in Virginia. We get about five cool, dry days per year. But I do remember reading that pralines were originally a french candy more akin to a brittle but when made in the warm, humid climate of New Orleans, they turn into a deliciously creamy and slightly grainy confection. So the warm-ish, damp weather today (also the day of the LOST finale!) could only help. I hoped.
Here we are coming up to a soft ball. Having never cooked with sugar before I was surprised how the temperature stayed low for a while, shot up to about 230, then hung around there for quite some time before finally going up to 238. I'm sure there is a scientific reason for this.
After the sugars (and other things) were properly cooked, I transferred it to my mixer bowl, added butterscotch chips, and let 'er rip.
Once it was creamy, I added the bits of pecan. I didn't get a picture of this stage because the candy was really wanting to set up, and I just went ahead and scooped it while I still could.
I haven't had one of the candies yet (they're setting even as I type), but I did lick the bowl, and let me tell you, these are really delicious. One thing I might do differently next time is toast the pecans, but honestly, these are pretty close to perfect as they are. Thanks to Tess of the Cookin' Chemist for picking such a nice recipe!