The smells of holiday baking always take me back to when I was a little girl, sitting at the snack bar, watching my Nonna make Christmas candy.
Divinity, Martha Washington Balls and Pralines were tradition in her kitchen. My granddaddy, Honey, had a special affection for the pralines. 🙂
She would bustle around, humming or singing a hymn, bubbling pots on the stove, throwing hot candy in cold water to check its doneness, while shaping the Martha Washington balls on wax paper. All simultaneously. I was always amazed at how she seemed to do it so effortlessly. And perfectly. To my knowledge, there was never a failed batch.
But as she grew older, as did I, her candy making days seemed to cease.
So one Christmas, I decided I would tackle the making of divinity and pralines! I’d watched her long enough, surely it couldn’t be THAT difficult?
The divinity was an epic fail. And the pralines? Well, let’s just say that concoction did make a fine ice cream sundae topper…
Needless to say, I said the heck with candy making and focused my efforts to learning all of her other cooking secrets – like the Thanksgiving dressing, slaw and Angel Food Cake.
But, seeing as how the farm girls and I do love creating homemade gifts and treats to share with our friends and family during the Christmas season, and even though we have yet to master true Pralines, we CAN make Praline Pecans. And that’s, like, the next best thing. Right?
So when my friend Brianne at House to Homestead asked if I’d be interested in participating in “A Simple Christmas” – a collaboration of bloggers sharing their frugal, simple, handmade, made with love Christmas ideas – this recipe fit all those requirements and I said yes!
Without further adieu…
- 2 cups whole pecans
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Parchment paper, or non stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium size bowl, add 2 cups whole pecans.
Stir in 1/2 cup packed brown sugar.
Pour in 4 Tablespoons heavy cream. Stir well.
Spread mixture onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper, or sprayed with non stick cooking spray.
Bake for 10 minutes. Stir. Bake for another 5 -10 minutes, or until dry and crystallized in appearance.
Remove from oven and stir.
The mixture will harden as it cools. When cooled completely, break pecan pieces apart and package in container of choice. For gift giving, this could include a small brown paper bag, clear cellophane bags, Christmas tins or Mason Jars.
Personally, I love mason jars for everything, so that’s what we use! To cover the lid, I cut out a circle from a brown paper bag and then wrapped jute twine around the jar band. You could add a little gift tag if you’d like.
And there you go! A yummy, frugal, homemade with love gift.
I love everything about Christmas.
The sights, sounds and smells. The memories. Joy and happiness radiating from everyone.
In a world of spend, spend, spend, I especially enjoy “made with love” gifts. I do hope you will aspire to have a simple Christmas with those you love this year. And if you’re looking for inspiration, please hop on over to the blogs of all who are sharing their ideas for a simple, homemade Christmas. I’ve included the links below!
And who knows, maybe one of these days we’ll perfect those treasured Pralines my Nonna used to make.
Merriest of Christmas wishes to ya’ll, from the farm… 🙂
A Simple Christmas: Homemade Gift Ideas
Crystal, from Whole Fed Homestead, is showing us how to make Old Fashioned Pulled Honey Taffy . Yum!
If you would like to make DIY Metal Stamped Jewelry for gifts, Brianne at House to Homestead has that covered.
Who doesn’t love crochet and handmade soap ? Jennifer from Chaos and Grace has several methods to share.
Jill & Kay, over at Under a Tin Roof, have a great tutorial on a DIY Dream Pillow .
Are Homemade Salves on your list of things to give? Alisha at Folk & Co can teach you!
And Nikala, from The Montana Farmhouse, is showing us DIY Reusable Beeswax Wraps .
I’d love to hear from ya’ll, if you give any of these a try!