I have an absolutely wonderful, fool-proof, never-fail recipe for microwave pralines that I have been making for about 25 years. I got it from my sister-in-law, who got it from her Cajun mother, who got it from the Tout de Suite cookbook by Jean K Durkee. Or, at least I thought it was fool-proof, until I tried making it here in Wimberley. Apparently, this house has the world's most powerful microwave, possibly of nuclear capability. Guess I haven't used it enough to really notice before now. I had guests coming for a potluck Mexican dinner on Saturday and, since I had a nice big sack of pecans in my freezer (thanks to my nephew Kevin) I promised them pralines for dessert.
The first batch turned to scorched cement before I made it halfway through the cooking time. I chiseled it out of the bowl and tried again, reducing the power to 75%. This time I made it 2/3 the way through before they burned. I chiseled them out again. The third and last time (since I had run out of ingredients) I tried cooking them at 50% power. This time I managed to get them out of the bowl before they turned to cement, and without the putrid aroma. However, they looked more like piles of dog food than pralines. I bashed them with a hammer and served the crumbles over ice cream. Everybody loved them. Go figure.
If you have a fairly normal microwave, I urge you to give this recipe a try. Despite what you have read here, it truly is dead simple and delicious:
In a big 4 or 5 qt. microwaveable bowl, stir together 3/4 c. buttermilk, 2 c. sugar, 2 c. pecan halves, 1/8 tsp. salt and 2 T. butter. Microwave on high 12 minutes, stirring at 4 minute intervals. Stir in 1 tsp. baking soda until foamy. Cook on high 1 minute. Beat the mixture by hand until tacky (about 1 minute). Drop by teaspoonful on a sheet of foil. Makes 3 or 4 dozen.