Pecan Pralines
Prep time
Total time
Pecan pralines are a wonderful creamy sugary sweet confection and considered one of the paramount sweets in the South. Pralines are a simple combination of cream, butter, sugar, and pecans, cooked to a soft ball stage, then scooped by spoonfuls to cool. Traditional recipes use jumbo pecan halves, but I prefer them chopped so you get pieces of pecan in every yummy bite.
Recipe type: Dessert | Candy
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
Line two large baking sheet or jelly roll pans with parchment paper or wax paper. Or, have a marble slab ready to use. Tip: traditional Pecan Pralines are scooped into small mounds onto marble slabs to cool but a parchment lined pan works just as well.
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pan, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the butter is melted. Stir in the whipping cream. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently and scraping the pot bottom to avoid scorching, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 238 degrees F, a soft ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 235 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 238 degrees.
  2. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it. Stir the candy vigorously with a wooden spoon until the candy thickens and cools and the pecans remain suspended in the candy, about 10 to 12 minutes. You’ll feel the mixture become heavier and become creamy and lighter in color.
  3. Drop the candy by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared pans. Let the candy sit until completely cool and firm; as they cool they become firmer and lose their shine.
  4. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or between layers of parchment paper or wax paper in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes
Equipment: Large Heavy-Bottomed Pan, Candy Thermometer Method: Stovetop Pan: Two Large Rimmed Baking Sheets Pan Prep: Parchment Lined Yield: 3 Dozen Pieces Storage: Airtight Container, Room Temperature

Help: Sugar and Caramel Stages

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