The Accidental Praline

jaggery, roasted peanuts, and ghee
jaggery, roasted peanuts, and ghee

We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

I firmly believe in that little truism, and it’s something I have tried to instill in my children. It comes in very handy when you mess something up. I am quite proficient at that when it comes to candy making — definitely not one of my strengths!

I can’t make candy because I’m too impatient. I can’t be bothered with so many threads, so many hardballs, softballs, sticks and other assorted examples of candy-speak that pepper the pages of cookbooks. I want candy to be like soup or gravy — just keep adding things and stirring it ’round till it looks right.

I have, however, a new little (old) cookbook, and in it was what looked to be a very easy recipe for jaggery toffee. Ingredients: jaggery, ghee, ginger, peanuts.

“O Joy! O Yum! O Sweet Simplicity!” thought I, “surely even I can do THIS!
I won’t worry about the thread so much, I will wing it”. Ha ha!

Parsi recipes

Parsi cookbook
an old Parsi cookbook that appears to have been used often

I followed the recipe exactly, except for the thread. I just cooked the jaggery with the ghee until I thought it looked “right” — then mixed in the peanuts and ginger and stirred as directed. Poured it out onto greased wax paper. Left it to cool. When I came back, there it was, staring up at me from the counter in all its
gently-crystalizing glory…

a

great

big

dinner-plate sized

candy setting

PRALINE!

If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you know how good pralines taste. Any time I have set out to make them, I’ve ended up with toffee or brittle. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that when I set out to make toffee, I got pralines!

So there it is, my humble entry to this month’s Jihva for Jaggery, graciously hosted by Kay of Towards a Better Tomorrow. Just under the wire as usual, but at least I complied with her request to “try a recipe that we’ve never tried before” — albeit unwittingly.

Next time, I will substitute pecans for peanuts and see what I get πŸ˜‰

pralines and asha’s chai masala
jaggery and peanut praline pieces with Asha’s Masala Chai, yum!

jaggery praline
jaggery and peanut praline

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19 Comments »

  1. Vini K said

    Hey Linda,nice looking pralines.We call this peanut chikki.Never tried it before,I guess I have to try this.

    That’s good to know Vini… peanut chikki, too, then πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  2. indosungod said

    Linda, the praline looks wonderful. Peanut, jaggery in any form toffee, praline all tastes good.

    Thanks ISG… it did turn out tasty, if not what I intended! I agree, can’t beat peanuts and jaggery πŸ™‚

  3. shaheen said

    Oh we call this chikki too! my brother used to make a sticky version of this which we used to call something like jaw breaker.

    I am going to have to change the title of this post! Thankfully this didn’t break any jaws, but I might have broken the scale eating it πŸ™‚

  4. Asha said

    We call Chikkis, Peanut brittle, Kadale` Mithai etc , Linda! Every Indian kids’ dream candy:))) I know it’s yummy, you don’t have to say anything else.

    I love the cook book.May be I order one for myself.Enjou the eternal fav of India:)))

    It was yummy with the masala chai, Asha! πŸ™‚

  5. giniann said

    You can see this type of sweet in glass jars in the road side stores in India. Oh yum!! I guess they store well.

    I will remember that if I make it again Gini… I had to give the rest away as I was indulging too much… πŸ™‚

  6. Faffer said

    Linda,
    Your praline looks good. You can also add powdered cardamom and dessicated/shredded coconut to kick it up a notch.

    Thanks Faffer, I’ll keep that in mind for another batch πŸ™‚

  7. Indira said

    Hey, I have been to New Orleans and I know how pecan praline tastes. πŸ™‚ Actually I’ve planned to prepare those, but pecan prices sent shock waves, so I backed off. πŸ™‚

    I laughed out loud, reading your post, Linda. Softball, hardball, the endless explanations of sugar syrup stages. real funny. πŸ™‚

    Many thanks for participating in Jihva with this classic entry. Where did you get this gem of a new old cookbook? I want to know that, if you don’t mind.

    Also my sincere apologies for not getting back to your email. I hate to be like this, but days are going by so fast these days. Not enough hours in the day it seems.

    Big fan,
    Indira

    Hi Indira, glad you got a laugh from this πŸ™‚ Cookbook was from a local flea market here — a lucky find considering the source. Don’t worry about emails… I know how time can get away. Let us know when you make some pecan pralines! πŸ™‚

  8. Archana said

    I totally understand the tofee-praline-candy situation ! I make praline with cashewnut sometimes and it tasted good too. Chikki looks lovely, happy JFI ( Ooops, i missed it !)

    Thanks Archana… I just *love* cashews… if I used those there would be no praline-toffee-chikki left! πŸ™‚

  9. Vaishali said

    I take it as a flaw in the book, Linda. That the author ‘thought’ that everybody would know this terminology. I have had so many problems because of such ‘abstract’ words during the first couple of years of my marriage when I was still a new cook.
    Nevertheless, your ‘Chikki’ looks wow! Please don’t forget to invite me over when you make it with pecans. I love pecans.

    Oh, I like your way of thinking Vaishali… I shall blame the book πŸ™‚ Will let you know when I break out the pecans, for sure!

  10. Lera said

    Absolutely delightful,linda you’ve revived , a forgotten sweet that is so simple and melting in the mouth variety to make.Thanks for sharing !

    Thanks Lera, I’m glad it was a good revival, I enjoyed the taste πŸ™‚

  11. shilpa said

    Linda, till today I am not able to get the proper ‘thread’. I always do what ‘feels right’ and sometimes I end up in getting a mess :(.
    Your ‘chikki’ looks great. I am thinking to prepare them from many days but I am so lazy….

    Hi Shilpa, I don’t believe for a minute that you could be lazy! πŸ™‚ This was pretty easy (without using a candy thermometer)… and too easy to eat, I’m afraid πŸ™‚

  12. krithika said

    ‘Chikki’ looks great ! Never tried this at home because of the thread consistency fear !

    Hi Krithika, thanks πŸ™‚ I was lucky, and got these completely by accident!

  13. Priya S&S said

    WOW !! chikkis. This was my favorite when I was a kid. For a dollar you can get about 200 chikkis (1x1inch pieces) in India πŸ™‚

    I think I need to go to India and try some, Priya πŸ™‚

  14. mandira said

    Linda – I am always amazed… you tackle difficult recipes and make them look so simple and delicious. The chikkis look yummy. Wish I could bite into one of them.

    Thanks for your kind words Mandira… I would love to send you a plateful πŸ™‚

  15. DilipUK said

    Linda, your post is so cute…made me smile. Praline…ohhh lovely stuff I dare not show this to to Jyostna, she will insist i make it right now ( its almost midnite here in the UK)..~grin~…thanks for sharing…~smile~.

    Thanks Dilip — maybe you’ll make some for Jyostna during daylight hours πŸ˜‰

  16. Bhargavi said

    We call Pallila achu , chikki. I love this sweet but never tried this at home. U brought back my chilhood memories related to this sweet πŸ™‚ .

    Hi Bhargavi, that’s a pretty name, Pallila achu — I’m glad it gave you a smile πŸ™‚

  17. Ashwini said

    Linda you just keep inspiring me with your “bravery” in attempting new recipes (and pretty tough ones at that, chikki is something even people in India dont usually make at home!) and making a success of them.
    I want a bite of that and so so want that book too πŸ˜‰

    Thank you so much Ashwini… I am constantly inspired by all of you wonderful cooks! πŸ™‚
    Can’t wait to see what you make for Coconut Jihva, too… yummy choice. Maybe I should send that book around, kind of like a traveling library πŸ˜‰

  18. Sushma said

    Hello Linda,

    The chikkis you prepared looks great. I love them a lot but never tried cooking at home, you have inspired me to atleat give it a try . Thanxs for sharing

    Best Regards -Sushma

    Hi Sushma, thanks for your kind words πŸ™‚ I’m sure you’ll make a great batch of chikkis!

  19. Anita said

    Hi Linda. It looks perfect – no accident!
    I’m planning to make…

    Hi Anita, and thank you! It sure was delicious — now let’s see if I can ever get it just right again! πŸ˜‰

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