This is the BEST praline recipe. One holiday season Mark and his dad wanted pralines. Gladys (his mother) and I tried so many recipes in search of the perfect praline and this recipe is the winner.
Get a very large pot; bigger than you think.
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 – 2 cups pecans (I prefer whole pecans. You can also toast your pecans.)
Mix first three ingredients together and cook over medium high heat until mixture comes to soft-ball stage. The mixture will rise very high in the pot and will turn darker and darker. Once the mixture reaches soft-ball stage, remove from heat and add pecans. Pour onto waxed paper immediately using a large spoon. The mixture will spread so space your patties appropriately. This part of the process usually takes two people.
Soft-ball stage: Place a drop of boiling mixture into a cup of cold water. The drop of hot mixture will form a soft, flexible ball – that you can pick up. About 234 to 240 degrees before putting in water.