A signature candy of the south, this delectable confectionary was sold in candy shops in Charleston. My first encounter with pralines was on my culinary tour to Louisiana in 1998. History has it that it’s a Creole confection derived from Marshal Luplesis-Pralin (1598 – 1695) and his butler’s recipe for almonds coated in sugar, used as a digestive aid. In the south, when areas were settled by French colonists, native pecans were substituted for almonds.

Course Dessert
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ cup Milk
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ½ cups Coarsely Chopped Pecans (Toasting is optional, but recommended - toast at 350 F for about 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly fragant, then remove pecans from oven and cool.)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla


  1. Combine all ingredients and stirring constantly.

  2. Bring to a temperature between 238 and 240 F (softball stage when you place a spoonful into a glass of water and it sticks to the side).

  3. Remove from heat.

  4. Stir until mixture thickens, becomes creamy and cloudy and pecans stay suspended in the mixture.

  5. Spoon out on parchment.

  6. Makes up to 50 pralines depending on the size.

Recipe Notes

You’ll need a candy thermometer or a bowl of water to ensure the confection is at the soft ball stage before you remove it from the heat. Makes a great food gift at Christmas!