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Pinoche Recipe

Pinoche, also known as Pecan Pralines, is a delicious confection that originated in the Southern United States. It was brought to the region by French immigrants in the 18th century and quickly became a popular treat. The word "pinoche" is believed to have come from the French word "pinot," which means a nugget or little piece.

Fun fact: Pinoche is traditionally made by cooking sugar and cream to the soft ball stage. The soft ball test is a technique used in candy making to determine the doneness of the sugar syrup. To perform the soft ball test, you drop a small amount of the syrup into cold water and then check if it forms a soft, pliable ball when pressed between your fingers.

Now, let's get to the recipe for Pinoche:

Ingredients:
- 1 cup (packed) medium brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/3 cup nut meats (such as chopped pecans)
- 1/4 pound pecans (weighed in shell)
- 1/3 pound hickory nuts (weighed in shell)

Instructions:
1. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cream.
2. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the soft ball stage. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
3. To test for the soft ball stage, drop a small amount of the syrup into a bowl of cold water. If it forms a soft, pliable ball, it's ready.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. You should be able to bear your hand on the bottom of the pan without discomfort.
5. Stir the mixture vigorously until it begins to thicken.
6. Add the chopped nuts (pecans and hickory) and continue stirring until the mixture becomes too thick to easily pour.
7. Quickly spread the mixture onto a buttered pan, making sure it's evenly distributed.
8. Allow the Pinoche to cool and set completely. This will take approximately 1-2 hours.
9. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the Pinoche into squares.
10. Store the Pinoche in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

Pinoche is a delightful treat enjoyed by many, and it can also be a great homemade gift for friends and family. Its rich caramel flavor combined with the crunch of nuts makes it irresistible.

Similar recipes to Pinoche include Pralines, which are popular in New Orleans and have a similar base of cooked sugar and nuts. Pralines can be made with various nuts such as pecans, almonds, or walnuts, and they often have a softer, creamier texture compared to Pinoche.

Another similar recipe is Nut Brittle, which is made by caramelizing sugar with nuts until it hardens and becomes brittle. Nut Brittle can be made with different types of nuts or a combination of them. It is commonly enjoyed during the holiday season.

Whether you choose to make Pinoche, Pralines, or Nut Brittle, these sweet treats are sure to satisfy your cravings for a caramelized sugar and nutty goodness. So give them a try and indulge in their delectable flavors!

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