Pralines

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups pecans
2 tablespoons rum or pure vanilla extract (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, baking soda, light corn syrup, salt, and butter; boil without stirring to the soft ball stage. Add pecans and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in rum. Beat the mixture until creamy. Drop by spoonfuls onto buttered wax paper.

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