Pralines are a bit temperamental and are best made on a clear, sunny, dry day, rather than a humid or rainy one.
- 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 cup pecan halves
Line two baking pans with parchment paper; set aside. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine buttermilk, baking soda, and sugar. Over medium-high heat, bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. To prevent crystals from forming, brush sides of pan with cold water.
Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees (soft-ball stage), about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and bourbon; stir with a wooden spoon until butter has melted. Stir in pecans; beat with wooden spoon for 30 seconds. Immediately spoon 1 tablespoon of pecan mixture onto prepared baking pan, forming a 2-inch patty. Repeat with remaining mixture. If mixture begins to harden, return to heat for 1 minute, scraping down sides and stirring. Let patties stand until set, about 1 hour. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.