Pecan Pralines

pecan pralines recipe

It is Mardi Gras week and pecan pralines are about as southern as it gets.

When I was living in Charleston, I used to have a job selling seats on horse drawn carriage tours. It was mind-numbingly boring, but it paid for beers and chicken sandwiches at Wild Wings. Anyway, next to my booth was a candy store that made pecan pralines all day long and the smell was intoxicating. It taunted me for 8 hours at a time. Okay, maybe it paid for beers, chicken sandwiches, and pecan pralines. The girls that worked in the candy store used to stand outside and hand out samples, anyone that walked by and took one was a goner. They all went into the store and came out with a praline in hand. There are very few things that I make that bring me back to a place and time like these pralines do. I took a bite and was immediately back on Market Street.

Pralines are not hard to make, but with candy-making, you have to follow the directions exactly. You can’t start these and walk off to check your email. You need to babysit the pot because the sugar needs to reach a specific temperature in order for the candy to harden properly. It is also smart to not make these on a really humid day. They can get grainy if it is too humid. Which blows my mind that the pralines that they make in Charleston and New Orleans are so smooth. They are the most humid places I have ever been.

Also, you must use a candy thermometer. I use a high quality digital thermometer but I have made many candies using a cheap one that you get at the grocery store. Be sure to calibrate it to make sure that it reads correctly. 9 times out of 10, if your candy doesn’t work it is because your temps were off.

how to make pecan pralines

2 cups pecan halves and pieces
3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

pecan praline recipes

Spread the pecans out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toasted. Cool completely. Line two baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Set them aside.

how to make pecan pralines

Add the brown sugar, cream, butter, and corn syrup to a heavy bottomed Dutch oven.

pecan praline recipe

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

pecan praline recipe

Boil until a candy thermometer reaches 236 degrees (soft ball stage).

pecan praline recipe

Take the sugar off the heat and let cool until the thermometer reaches 150 degrees. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

charleston pecan praline recipe

Stir in vanilla and salt.

pecan praline recipe

Add pecans.

how to make pecan pralines

Stir constantly for one to two minutes or until it begins to lose its gloss.

praline recipe

Working quickly, drop onto parchment lined baking sheets. Let cool until they are firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

pecan praline recipe

Thank you to Ballard Designs for providing me these gorgeous serving pieces to celebrate Mardi Gras. They were gifted to me, but all opinions are my own. You can find the tea glasses and tray on the Ballard Designs website. 

Pecan Pralines

Pecan Pralines

Yield: approximately 12 pralines

Pecan Pralines - Just like you get on Market Street in Charleston.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan halves and pieces
  • 3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Spread the pecans out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toasted. Cool completely. Line two baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Set them aside.
  2. Add the brown sugar, cream, butter, and corn syrup to a heavy bottomed Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil until a candy thermometer reaches 236 degrees (soft ball stage).
  3. Take the sugar off the heat and let cool until the thermometer reaches 150 degrees. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in vanilla and salt. Add pecans.Stir constantly for one to two minutes or until it begins to lose its gloss.
  5. Working quickly, drop onto parchment lined baking sheets. Let cool until they are firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g

Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

raspberry orange pistachio ricotta cake slices on a wire rack

Don’t Miss a Thing!

The newsletter you can’t wait to read. Best enjoyed with a beverage and a snack. 

Enter your email address below to join my list and receive my weekly Friday newsletter and new blog posts.

White Chocolate Banana Bread

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I’ve been wanting to make my own for sooooo long!! Love this recipe!

    1. bakedbree

      They were a lot easier than I thought that they would be. I think that big cooper pots scared me off. 🙂

  2. Lori W.

    These look delicious, Bree! I will definitely add this recipe to my Mardi Gras “file”.

    1. bakedbree

      Please do!! It was so nice to meet you. We need to do it again soon. 🙂

  3. Ryan

    Isn’t Charleston lovely? I go to C of C right now and I can’t imagine living in a more beautiful place, and the pralines are the best! i made some chocolate rum pralines recently, SO good. I’ll have to try this recipe soon!

    1. bakedbree

      It is! It holds a special place in my heart.

  4. Amanda

    You inspired me on a snowy Sunday, and my entire family is very thankful as a result. Turned out great–thanks for the recipe.

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad! Hope that you liked them. Happy Mardi Gras!

  5. Caroline

    I love Charleston! We were there several years ago and had the best time…and ate some awesome food! I didn’t get to taste the pralines, but I do have a friend who brings me pecans from Georgia every so often. Now I know what I’m doing with the next bag! These look heavenly! Pinning right now!

    1. bakedbree

      Yes you do! These are really sweet, but worth it!

  6. Patrick

    Disaster! I tried this, with proper ingredients and careful measuring, etc. The result was like wet brown sugar, with no chewiness at all. Afterwards I reviewed a bunch of other recipes, and I think you are missing the part about being really careful not to stir once the mixture comes to a boil, until after the target temperature is reached. Since the boiling mixture quickly becomes a supersaturated solution, any mixing will trigger the sugar to crystallize before it carmelizes. You don’t want this.

    1. bakedbree

      I am sorry that this recipe did not work out for you. Pralines are not chewy at all. They do not have a chewy, fudgy texture at all. They are crumbly. The recipe that I used is from Southern Living, which I believe to be a very reliable source when it comes to Southern confections. It calls for stirring. https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pecan-pralines-50400000117951/

      1. Patrick

        huh, well, I didn’t realize they are supposed to be crumbly. 🙂 I must really like caramel (I do). Still, maybe this recipe could be a little more descriptive about what the goal is. Also, from reading other recipes, there seems to be a huge variation in how people make pralines.
        I do like your other recipes though. 🙂

      2. sue d

        I agree–authentic pralines are NOT chewy. The only ones I have tasted in New Orleans that are like authentic old time are made at Southern Candymakers located at 334 Decatur and 1010 Decatur. I tasted all over the city and the rest are chewy. I spent 4 hours watching them make pralines and also turtles at the 334 Decatur location–so interesting to me.

        1. bakedbree

          Candy-making is a lost art. I could watch it all day too.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.