Old-fashioned Pecan Pralines are a classic Southern candy. These luscious, crunchy bites of heaven taste a little like a combination of creamy butterscotch, caramel, and roasted pecans, all wrapped up in a sugary, fudgy package!
Homemade pralines packaged in a Christmas tin would make an exceptional gift for the foodies in your life or a coveted hostess gift.
They are also a critical ingredient in decadent Pralines and Cream Ice Cream, which I make during the holidays every year.
What are they?
Pralines are a confection with a history as rich as they are flavorful. French settlers originally brought the pralines recipe, which only contained almonds and sugar, to New Orleans, where chefs there modified the recipe by adding cream.
And, because pecans are plentiful there, they also substituted them for the almonds. To this day, there are praline specialty shops in the French Quarter that make and sell nothing else but this intensely sweet candy!
How to pronounce it:
In New Orleans, most everyone pronounces this delicious candy “PRAH-leans,” but here in North Florida and along the Gulf Coast, the favorite pronunciation is “PRAY-leans.”
Whatever the pronunciation, pralines are a creamy, sugary treat, chock full of pecans, pronounced “pa-CONS” in our neck of the woods, not “PEE-cans.” A quick unscientific poll of my friends confirms both pronunciations!
This easy praline recipe is courtesy of my sister Chula. She has been making pralines for years, and they were always one of my favorite confections in her famous Christmas baskets!
Here’s what you will need:
You will need light brown sugar, light corn syrup, whipping cream, unsalted butter, kosher salt, pecan pieces, and vanilla extract.
How to make this recipe:
Bring sugar, cream, corn syrup, and salt to boil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly.
Continue cooking and stirring the sugar mixture until a candy thermometer reaches 236 degrees F., or it reaches the softball stage. This will take an additional 6-8 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat and add the butter. Do not stir. Let it stand until it cools a bit and reaches 150 degrees F. This should only take a few minutes.
Add the pecans and vanilla and constantly stir until the candy begins to lose its gloss and thicken just a bit.
Working rapidly, drop the candy, by heaping teaspoonfuls or a small scoop, onto wax paper or parchment paper. Let stand until completely cool and firm.
How to store them:
Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or you can freeze them in an airtight container for up to two months.
Sharon’s Expert Tips:
- In making candy, the softball stage means that when you drop a bit of the candy into cold water, you can form a soft- ball with it.
- Pralines are a delicate candy and keep better if you separate the layers of candy with wax paper or parchment paper when you store them.
- To lightly toast pecans, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees F. for 7-8 minutes.
If you are interested in other southern-style recipes, you might want to check out these popular favorites: Classic Southern Potato Salad, Homemade Fresh Peach Ice Cream, Southern Cheddar Biscuits, and Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese.
Add finally, if you are making these for a Mardi Gras party, don’t forget to make Hurricane Cocktails so it will really be a celebration!
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
- 3 cups light brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups pecan pieces lightly toasted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Bring sugar, cream, corn syrup, and salt to boil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly.
- Continue cooking and stirring the sugar mixture until a candy thermometer reaches 236 degrees F or it reaches the soft ball stage. This will take an additional 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and add the butter. Do not stir. Let it stand until it cools a bit and reaches 150 degrees F. This only takes a few minutes.
- Add the pecans and vanilla and constantly stir until the candy begins to lose its gloss and thicken just a bit.
- Working rapidly, drop the candy by heaping teaspoonfuls or a small scoop onto wax paper or parchment paper. Let stand until completely cool and firm.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week.