If you're craving a nutty sweet treat, which would you choose at the ice cream shop: pralines and cream, or butter pecan ice cream? While you might think there's not much of a difference — and truly, you can't go wrong with either — there are a few key distinctions between the flavors that are interesting to note.
The popular pralines and cream ice cream flavor takes its name from pralines, a popular Southern candied treat. While pralines can feature a myriad of different ingredients depending on the region and the maker's personal preferences, a praline base typically consists of nuts, caramelized sugar, butter, and cream. The caramelization is what brings out a deep, roasted note in the nuts, which affects the praline flavor in general.
Butter pecan flavor, on the other hand, combines pecans, butter, and vanilla. The vanilla flavoring makes a big difference here — it distinguishes butter pecan as vanilla-forward, while pralines are more caramel sugar-forward.
For An Extra Dose Of Sugar, Opt For Praline-Flavored Treats
American pralines often include pecans as the nut of choice, which might explain why some people think of them as being similar in flavor to that other favorite Southern classic — butter pecan ice cream. Pralines come out with a hard-candy, fudgy texture, which carries over somewhat when you transform them into delightful pralines and cream ice cream, with the heavy caramelization of the pecans upping the dessert's sugar factor.
When it comes to butter pecan flavored ice cream, the mellow butter and subtle vanilla combine to add a base of sweetness, allowing the roasted pecans to be the shining, nutty stars that they are.
So, if you're looking for more of a sugar rush, a praline flavor is the way to go. Butter pecan, however, is perfect for those who prefer to take it a little easier on the sugar and enjoy something more nut-forward. Keep in mind that this is still dessert, so it's going to be sugary either way!
Butter Pecan-Flavored Treats Tend To Be More Crunchy Than Chewy
Pralines and cream ice cream often features actual praline candy pieces mixed in with the cream, providing a chewy surprise in every bite. You can also add caramel sauce to the ice cream mixture, making for a perfectly gooey, fudgy dessert. Compared to butter pecan ice cream, praline ice cream is smoother in texture, owing to the fact that the nuts have already been transformed into pralines.
Butter pecan ice cream keeps the actual pecan nuts intact, resulting in a crunchier texture. The key to a great butter pecan flavor is to lightly toast the pecans in butter first — just long enough so that they remain golden but emit a wonderfully nutty aroma. This develops the rich butter flavor even before you add the pecans to the ice cream. The roasted pecans make every crunchy bite a toasty, sweet delight. Adding vanilla rounds out butter pecan's distinct flavor profile.
So, have you decided yet — praline or butter pecan? Why not both?
Read the original article on Daily Meal.