Here in New Orleans there is really only one kind of Praline and that is the Creamy variety with pecans as the nuts involved.
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The praline is a tasty confection that is generally prepared with different types of nuts. There are several different ways of preparing pralines, but most recipes call for coating the nuts with a layer of caramel and rolling the nuts in a sugar mixture. This combination of sweets helps to provide a pleasing texture and snowy white coating that makes pralines a favorite around the holidays.
Different types of nuts may be used in the creation of praline treats. In many parts of Europe, hazelnuts and almonds are favorites to use in the making of holiday pralines. Many places in the southern portion of the United States enjoy preparing pralines with the use of pecan halves. In some cases, cream is used as part of the basic recipe for making pralines, adding one more layer of flavor and texture to the finished product.
Pralines were originally envisioned in France during the 19th century. According to many experts, pralines were born in the kitchen of a sugar industrialist with the last name of Praslin. The original recipe called for using almonds as the base for the sweet, with a coating of caramelized sugar added next. The final layer of powdered sugar was added later, giving a 20th century twist to what has become one of the most popular of holiday confections.
While many people think of pralines as being coated nuts, the term is also used to refer to a powder or paste that is made from grinding the sugar coated nuts. This praline powder is often used as filler in chocolate candies, or as a dusting for cookies and other sweet treats. Praline powder can often be purchased at high end kitchen shops around the world.
Pralines can be prepared at home, purchased fresh at a number of bakeries, or bought as a finished product in many supermarkets and high end grocery stores. Relatively easy to prepare, pralines provide a nice alternative to heavier sweets during the holidays. However, pralines do not tend to be low in fat or carbohydrates, so they should not be viewed less dangerous to the waistline than other holiday sweets.
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