Old-Fashioned Pralines


My mom always made pralines for the holidays. She would make the candy mixture then spoon it artfully on waxed paper and press two pecan halves on top. I’m not quite as artful about it–you have to work fast with candy and she was better at that than I am–so I just mix the pecans in with the candy and sloppily plop it out. You do it your way, but these are delicious! And really easy. If you’re not artful.
With a couple weeks till Christmas, this is a good time to make candy because it keeps well stored in airtight containers.

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How to make Old-Fashioned Pralines:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
2 cups pecan halves

Butter the sides of a medium-size saucepan. Combine the sugars and milk. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan. Bring the contents to a simmering boil on medium-high heat. Once the mixture boils, lower the temperature to medium-low.
Cook and stir to soft-ball stage–234 degrees. Don’t go away–you have to watch the thermometer. A good candy thermometer is worth its weight in gold, but you can use any thermometer that will register in the right temperatures for candymaking. Clip-on is definitely a huge help.

My mother didn’t use a candy thermometer, by the way. She just knew how to make it by how it looked. (I’m not my mother.)

Once the mixture gets to soft-ball stage, remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter–but don’t stir it in. Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes.
Don’t go away now, either. If you let it cool too long, it will harden into candy right in the pan. I test it every few minutes with my spoon to see if it’s starting to thicken. Once you see it starting to thicken, don’t waste any time adding the pecans starting to beat it vigorously with the spoon. It will look shiny at first, then start to lose the shine as it continues to thicken.
If you’re going to be artful and press the pecans on top after spooning the mixture out, don’t add the pecans now, of course. But I do.
Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Work quickly as the candy will start to harden.
You can store it for several weeks in an airtight container. This is a good time to make it ahead! Or just eat it now….

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.
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  1. SanAntonioSue says:

    Ohhh My Goodness!!! I think you need to send me that entire plate of pralines so I can taste-test each one to determine if they are worthy of such praise…….. 😆 …..wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season. P.S. I have almost the same exact recipe but mine is made for cooking in the microwave. Very easy. Lemme know if ya want the recipe. 🙂

  2. lesliedgray says:

    My beloved grandmother used to make fabulous praline every year also.. Sadly, most of her recipes were lost when I stupidly put them all into a computer recipe program and threw away the handwritten ones.. (I’m not too bright sometimes.. I also threw away a canner because my husband was purging the garage and I didn’t think I’d ever use it again…sigh…)
    One question: Do you pre-toast your pecans, or do you let the hot candy cook them? I don’t remember what my MiMi did..

  3. brookdale says:

    These sound so good! Will have to try these.
    SanAntonioSue, would love to see your recipe for the microwave.

  4. SanAntonioSue says:

    Microwave Pralines:

    3/4 cup of buttermilk
    2 cups sugar
    2 cups pecans
    1/8 tsp. salt
    2 Tbsp. butter
    1 tsp. baking soda

    Mix buttermilk, sugar, pecans, salt and butter in a large microwaveable bowl. Cook on High for 12 minutes, stirring at 4 minute intervals with a wooden spoon. Stir in baking soda. Cook on High for 1minute (mixture may get “foamy” so don’t worry if it does). Remove from microwave and beat till tacky. Drop on foil until cool. Work quickly after beating because the mixture hardens once it starts to cool. Enjoy!!

  5. Joell says:

    These pralines sound absolutley fabulous, I have everything in our pantry to make some, thank you so much,— I have not thought about pralines in years.

  6. JudyT says:

    Yum!!! and I just got some Georgia pecans the other day when the Tree-Ripe truck came to town, this will be added to my Christmas baking list.

  7. quiltinggranna says:

    I want to know if these are the chewy caramel type of praline or the more crispy/crunchy type? And same question of SanAntonioSue’s pralines as well. I love the chewy ones so much more but my husband like the crunchy ones, like from New Orleans. These looks mouth watering! And great for gifts.

  8. Cousin Mark says:

    Are you sure they are ok for human consumption? Better have them tested for safety of all involved. Send large sample to Johnson Creek Kitchen Testing Lab as soon as possible. Mark

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