Piloncillo is a caramely-rich dark brown sugar used in Mexican cooking. Learn about piloncillo, Mexican unrefined brown sugar used in beverages and various recipes.
The name piloncillo refers to the traditional cone shape in which the sugar is produced. It is also known as panela and panocha. There are actually two varieties of piloncillo produced one is lighter (blanco) and one darker (oscuro) better taste. The cone size can vary from as small as 3/4 ounce to as much as 9 ounces per cone. The cones shown in the picture above are about 3" tall.
- Grease a 24-inch sheet of wax paper. Set it on several thickness 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°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.
You can store piloncillo indefinitely. It should be tightly wrapped and stored in a cool, dry spot in your cupboard or pantry. Piloncillo will get a whitish granular look to the exterior as it gets older but it still totally usable.
Fun Fact about Piloncillo Mexican Brown Sugar