A specialty to the south, pralines are nothing more than toasted pecans suspended in a rich golden brown sugar base making for a delightful candy that will satisfy any sweet-tooth. Nothing more is really a southerners way of saying, it is something we take for granted. There are several variations; the crunchy crystallized sugar patties, some with consistencies of a creamy soft fudge and others more nougat like taffy. My favorite are the creamy versions.
Pralines are ultra sweet, one will do me for a while and that is why I like this slightly sweeten bread. I thought about it as I made the sweet potatoes last week, the one with the praline-like topping. This recipe uses the elements of pralines in making one fine tasting, loaf of bread similar to raisin or banana bread. It is a perfect balance of buttery nutty flavor and brown sugar sweetness. A sweet bread that is delicious sliced as is, by running slices under the broiler to toast with a nice pat of butter, served with honey butter or spread with fruit cream cheese for sandwiches. Enjoy!
makes 1 loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons Southern Comfort or bourbon
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom only of a loaf pan, either an 8 1/2 or 9-inch.
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl, put aside. Beat butter with the sugars using an electric mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, bourbon and 1 egg into the mixture well. Add the other egg and beat until creamy. Alternately, beat in the flour mixture and the buttermilk on low speed beating well after each addition. Reserve 2 tablespoon of pecans and fold remaining pecans into the batter. Pour into the pan.
Finely chop reserved pecans and sprinkle over the batter. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and remove loaf from pan. Allow to rest and cool completely before slicing.
Notes: You can use substitute 1/2 teaspoon extract for the bourbon if desired, almond or maple would be good.
If you prefer to use regular milk, replace the baking soda with baking powder to correct the alkali to acid ratio. You can also use whole yogurt instead of the buttermilk.