Monday, December 21, 2015

Vegan Praline Pecans


It seems that a praline can be any number of candied pecan recipes. Some are encased in chewy caramel but the ones I really love have a lighter sugar coating rich with buttery flavor, a hint of cinnamon, and are simply irresistible when done right. How hard could it be to copy a candied nut? Funny it took me this long to try.

This was one of those happy accidents. I had an idea for a pumpkin truffle cookie ball with a praline coating. So I threw together a few ingredients, baked the mix in the oven and dusted them with powdered sugar. Luckily I made well over double what I needed to chop up for the cookie balls because the family absolutely devoured them!

Non-vegan recipes call for an egg white wash, so they are able to get a thicker more even coating.  I found that tossing the nuts as they cool allows the caramelized sugar to thicken up and stick to the pecan so they get areas of goopy sugar lumps in places, which is just perfect. A dusting of powdered sugar seals it all together and is the perfect finishing touch, just like the high end pralines. Yum!

Vegan Praline Pecans
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a large microwave safe bowl, (or in a large sauce pan over medium heat) combine all the ingredients except the pecans and the powered sugar, and microwave on high 2 minutes. Stir the mixture and return to the microwave for another 1-2 minutes until it is bubbling and the sugar dissolves when stirred.

Add the pecans and toss to coat. Turn the mixture out into a parchment lined cookie sheet (not necessary, just easier for clean up), scraping all the contents onto the pan and bake at 350-degrees for a total of 12 minutes, stirring and turning over the nuts at the 6-minute mark.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool 1-2 minutes. Carefully scoop all the nuts back into the large glass bowl and stir until the caramelized sugars begin to stick to the nuts, 2-3 minutes. When there is no longer a pool of sugar sauce on the bottom of the bowl, indicating it is stuck to the pecans, sprinkle with the 1/4 cup powdered sugar and toss to coat.

Turn the nuts out onto wax paper to cool. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

For those of you who like pictures:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a large microwave safe bowl, (or in a large sauce pan over medium heat) combine all the ingredients except the pecans and the powered sugar, and microwave on high 2 minutes. Stir the mixture and return to the microwave for another 1-2 minutes until it is bubbling and the sugar dissolves when stirred. 
Add the pecans and toss to coat.

 Turn the mixture out into a parchment lined cookie sheet (not necessary, just easier for clean up), scraping all the contents onto the pan and bake at 350-degrees for a total of 12 minutes, stirring and turning over the nuts at the 6-minute mark. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool 1-2 minutes. Carefully scoop all the nuts back into the large glass bowl and stir until the caramelized sugars begin to stick to the nuts, 2-3 minutes. 
When there is no longer a pool of sugar sauce on the bottom of the bowl, indicating it is stuck to the pecans, sprinkle with the 1/4 cup powdered sugar and toss to coat. Cool on wax paper.

Enjoy! 

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