1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
8 to 9 ounces piloncillo, softened and chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces, toasted
1/2 teaspoon ground canela (cinnamon)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grease a 24-inch sheet of wax paper. Set it on several thicknesses of newspaper.
Combine all ingredient except the vanilla extract in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly so that the piloncillo melts and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 238 degrees F.
Add vanilla extract, remove the pan from the heat, and continue stirring as the candy cools. When the mixture becomes creamy and cloudy, and the pecans remain suspended while stirring, spoon the mixture onto the wax paper. You can make pralines of any size. Work quickly, before the candy hardens in the pan. The pralines set as they cool.
These are best the day they are made, but they will keep for several days if tightly covered. Use leftover pralines by crumbling them over ice cream. You can also pour the praline mixture into a pan and cut it like fudge.