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Perfect Pralines: Learn to Make A Southern Favorite

Updated on December 27, 2012

Want to learn how to make the sweetest treat ever?

Pralines (those sweet confections of sugar and pecans) are most associated with Louisiana and especially with New Orleans, but every Southern girl knows that pralines are a sweet taste found all over the South. Growing up with an abundance of pecan trees and good cooks all around me, I took these sweet treats for granted. However, my own first attempts at making this candy were not too successful. Since that day, a LONG time ago, I have learned a few things about making really good pralines. I want to share some the tricks of successful Southern pralines and the best praline recipes with you. For any of you few unfortunates who have not yet tasted a praline, a treat awaits you.

Tips for Great Southern Style Pralines

-- Never make these on rainy or very humid days-the moisture will make them "sticky" and they won't harden well.

--Always use a heavy saucepan.

--Always begin cooking over low heat; stir gently until sugar dissolves.

-- Stir constantly while mixture comes to soft-ball stage.

--Use a wooden spoon to beat until mixture thickens; then drop quickly onto waxed paper.

No-Fail Pralines

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups white sugar

1 cup milk

4 cups pecan halves

Combine sugars and milk in heavy pan. Cook until mixture reaches *soft-ball stage (234 degrees). Add pecans and cook one more full minute. Beat until mixture begins to thicken. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. When completely cooled, store in airtight container.

* Note: Soft ball stage means that a soft ball will form when you drop a small amount of the candy mixture into a glass of cold water. If you're not feeling confident about this, use a candy thermometer...they are inexpensive and easy to use.

How to Make Pralines - Instructional Video

The recipe for this youTube video is found at http://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/video/making-prali...

It calls for the following ingredients:

* 1 1/2 cups sugar * 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar * 1 cup evaporated milk * 1/4 cup butter or margarine * 2 cups pecan halves, toasted * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

However, the main benefit to watching this short video is for inexperienced praline makers to see what the mixture should look like at the various stages. I think it will help make the process very understandable to any novice candy maker.

EZ Pralines

1 lb. box brown sugar

¾ stick butter

¼ cup water

2 cups pecan halves

dash of vanilla

Combine sugar, water, and butter in heavy pan. Cook until soft ball stage is reached. Remove from heat; stir well, incorporating vanilla and nuts. When mixture has thickened, drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased waxed paper. Cool completely before storing in airtight container.

Buttermilk Pralines (my favorite)

2 cups sugar

2 cups pecan halves

2 T. butter

¾ cup buttermilk

1/8 tsp. salt

¾ tsp. baking soda

Mix all ingredients except baking soda over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Raise heat and cook till soft-ball stage (234 degrees) is reached. (Don't get in a hurry; this takes several minutes). Stir constantly.

Remove from heat, add soda, and beat till mixture begins to thicken.

Drop quickly by teaspoonfuls onto greased wax paper. Let cool and harden before storing.

Recommended Equipment for Making Candy

Use a heavy saucepan to get good results when making pralines. Check out this cookware from Amazon. If you can never decide what the "soft ball stage" looks like when making candy, you may need to get a candy thermometer. They are not expensive and make you more confident when you are making candy of any kind.

Wilton Candy Thermometer
Wilton Candy Thermometer

If you've never used a candy thermometer, you may think it is complicated, but this is actually very simple to use. Just hang it on the side of your saucepan and you are ready to go!

 
Cuisinart 77-10 Chef's Classic Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set
Cuisinart 77-10 Chef's Classic Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set

Cuisinart quality provides heavy cookware perfect for making pralines (and almost anything else you need to cook).

 

Pralines--Love them or hate them?

How do you feel about pralines?

See results

If you love the taste of pralines, you'll love this easy-to -make praline sauce perfect for serving warm over ice cream or as a topping for pound cake or bread pudding. Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 5 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a medium saucepan, stirring well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and let cool to lukewarm. Gradually stir in eaporated milk and pecans. Serve warm over ice cream.
Cast your vote for Praline Sauce

Find Pecans for Your Pralines

Good quality pecans make great pralines. Try one of these.

Reader Feedback--Any comments or questions?

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    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 4 years ago

      Oh, YUM. We had a great friend whose favorite snack was Praline anything!! Great memories! Blessings.

    • Lauriej1 profile image

      Lauriej1 5 years ago

      I've been trying to find a good recipe for these! Thanks for sharing!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Never had a chance to try them before. They look and sound delicious!

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 5 years ago from Jackson, MS

      ooh I love pralines! My first memory of them is from Texas! My granddaddy used to buy them for us when he paid the check at the register at our favorite fish house. Great memories! (oh... and pralines n cream flavored ice cream is my all time favorite flavor! Wonder why?)

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      Looks so tasty. Thanks for sharing.

    • lmmclain profile image

      lmmclain 6 years ago

      I love this recipe!

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 6 years ago

      One of my favorite Southern treats! Makes me miss living in Virginia.

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image

      TheGourmetCoffe 6 years ago

      I love your "Tips for Great Southern Style Pralines" and will certainly remember your good advice, including the comment about the weather, while savoring a great praline with a delicious cup of my own coffee!

      TheGourmetCoffeeguy (http://www.ourgourmetcoffee.com)

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 6 years ago from US/TN

      LOVE pralines! Blessed. :-)

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 6 years ago from Corona, CA

      I kind of like pralines. You make them sound very good!

    • Rita-K profile image

      Rita-K 6 years ago

      I love pralines! I am so excited to find out how simple they are to make! Your tips are going to be a big help! No calories, right? HaHa...they wouldn't be good if they were good for us! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!

    • Rita-K profile image

      Rita-K 6 years ago

      I love pralines! I am so excited to find out how simple they are to make! Your tips are going to be a big help! No calories, right? HaHa...they wouldn't be good if they were good for us! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!