This can most definitely be made ahead of time.
Makes 3 cups
• 1 lb. sugar • 1/4 lb. butter
• 1/2 teas. baking soda • 1 cup buttermilk
• pecans to taste (omit if your guest have nut allergies; it is still very good.)
You will need a large sauce pan (because this mixture foams up while cooking) and a metal wire whisk or wooden spoon.
Put all of the ingredients except pecans into pan. Turn heat on medium heat. Stir frequently until sugar is dissolved. Mixture will begin to foam quite a bit. Stir constantly until foaming stops.
The color will begin to caramelize. Continue to cook until it is a smooth, caramel-colored sauce. This whole process takes about 20-30 minutes.
To Make Natchez Beignets:
Fry 8 beignets and while warm cut just enough to slide a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in the center.
Pour warm praline sauce over the top and top with pecans. Serve immediately.