½cuppacked brown sugarI prefer light, but dark will work, too
¾cupchopped pecanstoasted or untoasted
For the bread:
¼cupvegetable oilsuch as sunflower or safflower
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
½cupfinely chopped pecanstoasted & cooled
Adjust a rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a full-sized loaf pan (approximately 9" X 5" X 3") and line with parchment paper that slightly extends above the top edge of the pan, all the way around (see notes above the recipe for more detailed explanation). Set aside.
In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the butter, brown sugar, and salt. Allow to start melting and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and stir in the chopped pecans until well combined. Set aside to slightly cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, blend together the buttermilk, oil, and sugar until well-incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in the finely chopped toasted pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Evenly pour about two-thirds of the pecan praline mixture over the top. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the pecan praline mixture into the bread, only going about halfway down into the batter (not all the way to the bottom). Pour the remaining pecan praline mixture over the top without swirling.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Lay a piece of foil over the top of the bread (so that the pecans on top don't burn) and then bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean (but be careful not to overbake).
When the bread tests done, remove it from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper sling to carefully lift the bread out of the pan and onto the cooling rack. You may gently peel back the parchment paper once the bread has cooled a bit more.
To toast pecans, preheat the oven to 350°. Spread finely chopped pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 4 to 7 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. (Keep in mind that finely chopped pecans will toast faster than pecan halves or large pieces, so watch them carefully to prevent burning.) Allow to cool.
If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by pouring 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or white vinegar) into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup up to the 1-cup line with milk (whole milk is preferred but low-fat/skim milk will work). Stir and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before proceeding with recipe.