Bacon and Date Pralines
Makes about 2 dozen. Recipe is adapted by Ann Guercio from her great-grandmother’s praline recipe. “My great-grandparents, Edna and William Conway, had a candy shop on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans,” she said.
½ cup milk (whole or 2 percent)
2 cups sugar
8 marshmallows, cut into fourths
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbls. butter
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup (about ½ lb.) bacon, cooked very crisp, chopped very fine in food processor
1. Boil milk, sugar, and marshmallows to 236 degrees (use candy thermometer), stirring frequently to dissolve marshmallows.
2. Remove from fire; add vanilla and butter, stirring until butter is melted.
3. Add dates and bacon, stirring briskly. Mixture will start to thicken. Very quickly spoon out by tablespoons onto waxed paper.
4. Let cool until pralines are firm. Peel off waxed paper.
Note: If mixture hardens in pot before all pralines are made, add a tablespoon or so of milk and reheat until mixture is melted. Then, spoon out once again. A reheated batch will be slightly darker and take longer to set up.