My head is still in New Orleans...Pralines -- cooked sugar and pecans -- are a Creole specialty of the Big Easy. My favorite place to buy them is Aunt Sally's on Decatur by the Cafe du Monde. Down there they call them "prahleens" not "prayleens" as I am used to saying.
I could eat these things by the case. You can order them on Aunt Sally's web site or you can make them yourself. Pralines are very easy. You will need a candy thermometer though.
This recipe for pralines comes from my grandmother who is not Creole but who is a very good cook and an exceptional candy maker. She makes pralines for Christmas every year. I made them once last summer for a party from pecans picked off my friend's tree. It seems that humidity and air temp can affect how quickly the cooked sugar sets. In 100 degrees and 100% humidity, they set up so fast that I ended up w/ a cement block of sugar and nuts. Panic-stricken, I called my grandmother. She told me all was fine and that I could fix it by reheating the mixture gently until it melted again. Easy! They turned out great and every last morsel was eaten.
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. white sugar
3 T light corn syrup
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. pecans, broken into pieces
Cook sugars, milk and corn syrup to soft ball stage (234 F) on a candy thermometer. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow pralines to harden.