Here's the recipe I used:
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. milk
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pecans
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Put 2/3 c. sugar in heavy skillet over low heat (burns easily). Melt. Stir to keep in smooth syrup (helps to use 2 spoons since sugar sticks).
AT THE SAME TIME, put 1-1/3 c. sugar, milk, butter and vanilla in quart saucepan and boil vigorously. Cook to soft ball that may be picked up when tested in cup of cold water.
These two mixtures seem to finish at the same time. When first mixture is melted and smooth, add second mixture gradually to first. Stir until smooth then remove from heat and beat. When it slaps, it is getting close.
Add pecans and vanilla to above mixture.
Either pour and spread on buttered plate and cut as fudge, or scoop by spoonfuls on wax paper the way they do it down South.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED. The sugar in the skillet kind of lumped together and got hard, but I kept the heat on low. After an hour it actually melted and then started to "string." In the meantime, it also took at least an hour for the ingredients in the saucepan to reach soft ball stage, 240 degrees. I removed the mixture from the heat and stirred, and stirred, and stirred. And all of a sudden the mixture got stiff, so I quickly added the pecans and vanilla, and using a spoon put the pralines on the pans. The end result is a caramel colored glop with pecans in it, and it tastes bland.