Soft-ball stage (234°) is a candy-making term. Drop a small amount of boiling mixture (in this recipe, the sugar, milk, and butter combination) into a glass cup of cold water. When it forms a soft ball that flattens as you remove it from the water, you've reached the soft-ball stage.
Southern Living NOVEMBER 2006
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Soak pecan halves in water to cover 20 minutes; drain well. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. salt evenly over the bottom of a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Arrange pecans in a single layer in pan; sprinkle evenly with 2 more Tbsp. salt. Place pecans in hot oven, and turn off oven. Let stand in oven 1 hour and 30 minutes. Toss pecans in a strainer to remove excess salt. Coarsely chop pecans, and cool.
2. Bring sugar, evaporated milk, and butter to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat; boil, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (about 7 minutes).
3. Remove from heat; stir in marshmallows and chocolate morsels until smooth. Stir in 2 tsp. vanilla and chopped pecans.
4. Pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan; cool completely. Cut into 1-inch squares.
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