Although the recipe for Southern Pecan Pralines only requires 5 ingredients, the science is in the cooking process. If you're willing to put in the work, this buttery treat will be well worth it!
Loaded with pecans, vanilla, and of course butter, this treat is filled with notes of brown sugar and will literally melt in your mouth.
Growing up in Louisiana there were a few legendary treats and aside from the popular King Cake, Bread Pudding, and Beignets, Pecan Pralines (or "Pecan Candy" as we call them) are a culinary staple.
This delicacy was birthed from chefs in New Orleans and from there has spread across the South.
Even today people in my hometown are willing to pay top dollar to anyone who knows how to make this awesome treat. Why? Well, this recipe will take some time and a little patience --- and may even take a few tries to perfect it. But with a little practice, you'll have this recipe down in no time!
Although the pecan candy only consists of five ingredients total, the science is all in the cooking process and most importantly, the temperature.
So what exactly are pecan pralines?
Pecan pralines are broken pieces of candy made using sugar, evaporated milk, pecans, butter, and vanilla extract. You will also find these in the form of a small circle.
The texture of pralines are soft when they are initially poured, but firm up as they cool. The resulting texture is a buttery confection that melts in your mouth. Aside from the pecans, this is not hard candy.
How to make pralines:
The first step is to coat a surface with butter or use parchment paper. You won't have time to do this once the candy is done so get your pouring area ready ahead of time.
To begin making the candy, add 1 tablespoon of butter, evaporated milk, and sugar into a large pot. The pot should be deep enough so the sugar doesn't boil over during the cooking process. You'll want to bring this to a boil.
Continue to stir until the temperature reaches around 235 degrees. I'll admit, I make this all by sight (and is how my grandmother taught me), but I would advise on using a candy thermometer. (By "sight" this typically takes around 10 minutes).
Once you reach this temperature, lower heat to medium bringing candy to a slight bubble. At this point, your candy should have a caramel color.
Add in the vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of butter and continue to stir. Lower your heat to medium-low.
This is where the elbow grease comes in...
Be prepared to stir continuously for around 25-30 minutes. The candy will thicken during this time. The longer you stir, the thicker the candy will become. You want a thick consistency, but not so thick where you can't pour the candy easily.
Once the candy thickens and develops a matte finish, you will fold in the pecans and remove the pot from the heat.
Spread the candy evenly on the surface to reach your desired thickness, allow it to cool, then break it into pieces. You can also use a cookie scooper to place your candy in a circular form (I just prefer the raw look of broken pieces).
Pecan Praline Candy is perfect to enjoy during your holiday season and also makes for the perfect gift.
Here are a few more desserts you might enjoy:
- Mini Sweet Potato Pies
- Moist Lemon Glazed Pound Cake
- Sweet Potato Hand Pies
- Bananas Foster Bundt Cake
- Ooey Gooey Pineapple Butter Cake
- Sweet Potato Cheesecake