The best pralines I’ve ever had came straight out of New Orleans, and with Mardi Gras going on this week, I was inspired to make a few to celebrate. My grandmother, bless her, had a pretty fantastic pecan praline recipe, but after a lot of sifting through my files, I couldn’t find it. So I did the next best thing and opened up a few of the church and Junior League cookbooks from New Orleans and pieced together a pecan praline recipe of my own.
If you’ve never had them (and amazingly there are people out there who have not!), pralines are more candy than cookie. The sweet caramel taste will melt in your mouth with the slightest hint of cream and finish with a satisfying pecan crunch.
Pecan Praline Recipe
Being that they are more candy than cookie, cooking them does take a little practice. If you have a candy thermometer, you’ll want to pull it out. If you don’t, a meat thermometer works just fine. It’s what I use! Humidity will affect how these come out. In one of the recipes I saw for pralines, there was even a barometer reading recommendation! I think closed up heated/cooled houses will do just fine to get these to come out right.
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half creamer
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/4 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium sized saucepan, mix the sugars, cream of tarter, salt and half and half over medium heat until the mixture reaches 236 degrees, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool the mixture to 220 degrees.
Add the butter and vanilla and cool until the mixture starts to thicken–you’ll have to keep a close eye on it! Once thickened, mix in the pecans and drop by the tablespoon full onto waxed paper.
Once set, they’ll be hard. Store in airtight container.
More Mardi Gras Fun!
Be sure to check out some of my other Mardi Gras posts to get your celebration started: