Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recipe: Practical Praline

Candy you can do.

Here are two tips to navigating queues in supermarkets:

  1. The number of people in line is not the gauge for waiting time. Some couples and peer groups will stand together simply to purchase one or two items. Unfathomably, they don’t split up and join different queues to hedge their chances of getting through the system quicker. Capitalise on such follies.

  2. A line may look short, but avoid loiterers:
  • Example 1: Children sneaking confectionery from the counter. When their carers finally notice (usually while unloading 20 Kit Kat bars onto the belt in disbelief), screaming ensues. Meanwhile you’re the chump watching from behind as six Joe Bloggs pass through the next counter without fuss.
  • Example 2: Anyone resembling my mother and her friends, unless you’re particularly partial to finding out how old the cashier is, how long before the roast chicken goes on special, why the oranges aren’t oranger, and other such small talk inanities.

Or if it’s a sweet hit you’re after, avoid the shops altogether because this will take you less time than locating your keys and putting your shoes on:

  1. Dump a half cup of sugar in a pot with a few drops of water (just enough to dampen). Use low heat. To dissolve lumps, shake don’t stir.

  2. While waiting for the colour of the sugar to turn, scatter anything crunchy on a tray: nuts are the most likely choice, here I’ve used pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sunflower seeds too. Even crushed cereal might work. Once the caramel forms, pour (very!) quickly onto tray.

  3. Cool. Crack. Eat.
And that is how praline gets miraculously made in the last ten seconds of a Masterchef dessert challenge.

A heart for breaking.

How do you deal with a sugar craving?


  1. Hahaha... That supermarket tip is funny and I know what you mean. What drives me nuts is being at Woolies, QV at say, 6pm in the evening. INSAAAANE...

    Though to be honest, I'm still really inexperienced when working with sugar =( There's so many times when I was planning to make syrup, then it crystallises or vice versa. The outcome is like luck to me. Do share if you have any advice in that area! Your praline with seeds seems more yummo than having nuts, actually! =D

  2. Winston: Omigosh yes, the line loops all the way back to the meat section sometimes, I really hate when I have to go there at that time. Or worse, when I've already been there and forgotten something after leaving!

    With caramel, there's a really small window between the colour turning and the sugar burning, so once I see the colour turn I pour it out straightaway: by the time it's on the tray it's already a deep brown! The seeds were good :)

  3. i usually count the number of items and not the people. :) thanks for sharing this tip!

  4. Michelle: Haha that's but one way to do it ;)

  5. Love the look of the praline. And I always have naughty chocolate to curb my sugar cravings.

  6. Penny: Chocolate is usually my poison of choice as well! This is for when I've totally run out! :)

  7. chocolate and more chocolate...Just make sure I've never run out. Praline is not my thing. Wonder if it works with lemon juice?

  8. AT: Haighs in particular? ;) Not sure how the sugar would react to an acidic hit of lemon!

  9. Cool rules! Actually, I think there's a book in that. A thesis even! My dilemma is often whether to head for "10 items or under" queue or the regular lines. I haven't kept score, but it feel like about 50/50.

  10. Kenny: People NEVER obey the rule in those lines. It's one of my top pet peeves!!

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  12. Really, if I crave sugar, I just eat it... hahahahaha... no actually.. I make a really strong cup of black aik cheong coffee and pile on heaps of sugar.. then sit back and start craving for yau char kwai!

  13. That's pure sugar + does one eat that? Is the texture soft or hard, chewy or crunchy?

  14. msihua: Haha, how very traditional of you! :)

    Yunn: It's crispy! Like crushed praline on ice cream.