As I’m addicted to chocolate peanuts, I thought I might try this recipe from the old fashioned candy book (published around 100 years ago!). The original recipe is below my translation.
*3 cups of granulated sugar,
1 cup of cream,
2 squares of chocolate, melted or grated
3 cups of pecan nuts, chopped finely
**1 cup of sugar cooked to caramel,
pecan nut halves to decorate
*Maple or brown sugar could be used in place of all or part of the quantity of granulated sugar.
**I’ve found a number of theories about caramelizing sugar but Delia seems to know what she’s talking about so I’ll go with her version. If you’ve never done this before her step by step page here makes it easy! Probably best to make it in a big pan as you’ll be pouring the chocolate mixture onto it.
My translation is as follows:
- Put the cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and boil until mixture is at the soft ball stage (put a tiny drop into cold water – if it pushes together smoothly, it’s ready) or, if you have a cooking thermometer, until it reaches 236 degrees.
- Add the melted or grated chocolate and beat it into the mixture. Then pour the mixture onto the sugar cooked to caramel. Bring back to the boil and remove from heat.
- Add the chopped nuts and beat until the mixture begins to thicken.
- When cool enough to hold its shape, drop teaspoon by teaspoon onto a greased board or any clean non-stick surface and place a pecan half on each before it sets.
- The mixture sets very quickly so you may want to enroll some help with the placing of the nut halves.
The original recipe text:
Stir the sugar and cream over the fire until the sugar is melted, then let boil to the soft ball degree, or to 236° F. Add the chocolate, melted or shaved fine, and beat it in, then pour the mixture onto the cup of sugar cooked to caramel; let the mixture boil up once, then remove from the fire; add the nut meats and beat until the mass begins to thicken. When cold enough to hold its shape drop onto an oil cloth or marble, a teaspoonful in a place, and at once set a half nut meat on each. Two persons are needed to make these pralines, one to drop the mixture, the other to decorate with the halves of the nuts. The mixture becomes smooth and firm almost instantly.