Bakezilla: Pretty Girls Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Praline Cookies

Posted: October 3, 2010 | Author: Bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 2 Comments »

This week, my dear boyfriend’s grandfather passed away. While I never met Grandpa, his family has always been very nice and generous to me, so I wanted to do something for them while they are grieving.  (I will note that this was not a tragedy, so no one gets too upset – Grandpa lived a long, healthy life and died surrounded by loving family, it’s more to mark an occasion of loss and celebrate a life well lived).  Anyway, when he flew down to the funeral, I sent with him some cookies to share with his family.  Because that’s the only way I know how to send my thoughts and well wishes.

Pralines are awesome.  Pecans and caramel, where can you go wrong?  Seriously.  If I were to make these again, I would add bourbon to the caramel.  Bourbon and caramel are a great combo, and I think that would have added some nice flavor to the cookies, but they were great as they were.  (Note: as with most baked goods, if you do add booze, only add a small amount, maybe 2 tbs, and all the actual alcohol cooks out, so they’re safe for pregnant ladies, non-drinkers, etc.).

The Cookie Base:

A basic, brown-sugar cookie:

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat to 350.  Put parchment on cookie sheets.  If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: always use parchment.  Even if the recipe doesn’t say to or suggests greasing your sheets or pan.  Ignore it and use parchment.  Seriously.  I will say it every blog if it gets someone to use it: this stuff is life changing.

Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients, set aside.  In a large bowl or mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Add in the egg and vanilla.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to combine.  Drop rounded teaspoons for small cookies, tablespoons for larger cookies, and bake until golden, 10-15 minutes, depending on size.  Allow to cool.

Don’t turn off your oven just yet though!  Put about 1 cup of pecan halves in a baking pan and roast them for a few minutes.  I have burned too many nuts, so I may under-roast, I usually put them in for 3 or 4 minutes.  Take them out and then you can turn off the oven.  When the cook, break them into small pieces (I just used my hands, because I wanted chunks).  Then, in a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup cream, 1 cup brown sugar, possibly more vanilla or bourbon, and bring to a boil.  Cook over medium for 2 minutes, stirring.  Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 cup confectioner’s sugar.  Whisk it good, until it starts to look frosting-y.  Add in the pecans.  Top the cookies with the praline mixture.  I think the best thing to do is the let the mixture dry for a while and then trasfer to your serving dish, because caramel frosting is super sticky while wet.

Again, I’m so sorry Grandpa is gone, and know that he will be missed by his great family, who have always been so kind to me.

2 Comments on “Praline Cookies”

  1. 1 Johanna said at 1:29 pm on October 3, 2010:

    Please send my condolences to Ben and his family. A loss is a loss, and it’s always sad.
    Then again, I think just about ANY loss could be tempered by these cookies. Holy moly. I want to make these for holiday gifts. I want to make these for Thanksgiving. I want to make these because hey, I have butter in the fridge.

    Can these be part of the “Driving Miss Zilla” reward?? :)

  2. 2 Ben said at 9:02 pm on October 14, 2010:

    Thanks babe, for the wonderful words, and also thanks to Jo. I will add that these cookies were amazing, and would make worthy payment for Jo-caliber driving lessons.

    My family appreciated the cookies very much. They were immediately designated “FHB”, or “family hold-back”, i.e. not to be wasted on just anybody. When my family did get to them, they were described as “the best cookie I’ve ever tasted” and “magically wonderful”. I wasn’t surprised at all.

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Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.