ALMOND PRALINE

ingredients:
2 cups white sugar (or vanilla sugar* if you have it)
about 1/2 cup water
1.5 cups sliced almonds
2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

directions:
Place sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Add just enough water to soak the sugar. Swirl (by the pot handle) until all the sugar is wet. Add more water if you need to. Place over medium heat. Don't walk away. Swirl around (by the pot handle) if it's not caramelizing evenly. Cook until it's almost at desired color (Grade B maple syrup or darker).

Remove from heat and quickly stir in nuts, vanilla extract, and salt. Place back on heat just to loosen it up a bit. Spread quickly over a sheet pan using a firm spatula. Let cool. Then bust apart with a rolling pin or meat mallet. This is quite easy if you cover the praline with a dishtowel. Or you can cut it into large chunks with a very sharp knife. Or place all of it in the food processor and puree the heck out of it into a powder. Store at room temperature in an airtight container. If it firms up again you can bash it apart. It lasts for a long time. And it freezes beautifully.

*Place new or scraped vanilla beans into white sugar and allow to infuse for a few days.

DASH AND BELLA
http://www.dashandbella.blogspot.com
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