Praline — that’s prah-leen, y’all, not pray-leen. Pralines are a delicious Louisiana treat, and these cookies with their amazing praline topping are an homage to New Orleans. The original recipe is from my friend Bernie, but I’ve made a few changes and suggestions as I’ve played with the directions. I must warn you — you’ve got to love sweets to enjoy these cookies!The first step is to make the cookies. Cream 1/2 cup softened butter with 1-1/2 cup packed brown sugar. I used Dan the Man’s Kitchen-Aid for this. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture; mix well. Cover and chill until the dough is easy to handle, about one hour.
While the oven is preheating to 350 degrees, form the mixture into one-inch balls. I used a scoop for this purpose. Bernie’s recipe then called for 1 cup of chopped pecans to be pressed into the cookies’ top.
I followed those directions, but next time I make these, I’ll save this step for later and drop the pecans onto the top of the icing right after I’ve poured it onto the cookies. To save all the chopping, I found these pecans at Wal-Mart.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, and then cool them on wire racks. This is what they look like fresh from the oven.
Now it’s time for the delicious and drippy praline icing. Combine 2 cups packed brown sugar with 1 cup whipping cream. (I never said these were going to be good for your diet!) Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and blend in 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar. The original recipe didn’t call for sifting the powdered sugar — major mistake! My icing came out clumpy no matter how much I stirred. So make sure you sift, y’all!
Bernie’s recipe also said to drizzle the icing over the tops of the cookies. Hell, no! Those things needed the full praline experience, so I poured the icing to fully cover the tops. To keep from making a mess, I put a sheet pan under the wire rack to catch the drips. Boy, those drips made a tasty clean-up!
These cookies were easy to make, though not fast, and will now be part of my cookie-making repertoire. Here’s the recipe, with my changes:
½ c. butter, softened 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 c. packed brown sugar 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg ¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Cover and chill until dough is easy to handle, about one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form mixture into 1-inch balls. Place two inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Flatten cookie slightly with fingers. Bake for 10 minutes, and then cool on wire racks.
2 c. packed brown sugar 1 c. whipping cream 2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 c. pecans, chopped and roasted*
Combine the brown sugar and whipping cream in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the brown sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and blend in powdered sugar. Pour over cookies by spoonful until covered and sprinkle each cookie with 1 tsp. chopped pecans.
Yield: 4 dozen
*Once cookies are removed from the oven, spread the pecans on a sheet pan. Place in the oven and roast for about 7 minutes.