1 1/2 cups (8 oz) shelled natural pistachios
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350° F. Oil 2 large baking sheets and line with parchment paper.
In a baking pan spread pistachios evenly and toast in the middle of oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a bowl toss hot pistachios with butter and granulated sugar and cool completely.
In a 4-quart heavy saucepan cook brown sugars, cream, and salt over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and washing down any sugar crystals clinging to side of pan with a brush dipped in cold water, until sugars are completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 238°F.
Remove pan from heat (leave thermometer in pan) and cool mixture until thermometer registers 220°F, about 5 to 10 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir in vanilla and vigorously stir mixture until creamy and beginning to to lose its sheen. Working quickly, drop mixture by teaspoons onto baking sheets and top each praline with 3 pistachios. (If mixture becomes too stiff to spoon, warm it over low heat, stirring, until just workable.) Let pralines stand at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Pralines keep,layered between sheets of parchment paper in an air tight container at cool temperature or chilled, 1 week. (my note: you can also store them in the freezer, and of course they will last longer.)
Yield: Makes about 60 pralines. Enjoy!