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pecan pralines

Southern Style Pecan Pralines

Pralines made with cream, two kinds of sugar and butter.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Southern
Keyword Pralines
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Setting Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16


  • 1 2/3 cup pecan halves plus 1 teaspoon butter and a pinch of salt.
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (60 grams), cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup cream or half & half
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar 100 grams
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Line a baking sheet or flat surface with parchment paper.
  • Lay the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 375 for 7 minutes or until they start to release their oils. Pull from oven and toss with about a little butter and a sprinkling of salt. Set aside to cool completely.
  • In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the 4 tablespoons of butter until it is partially melted, then add the ½ cup cream and heat butter and cream together just long enough to melt the butter. Remove from heat and (off heat) add both sugars and water stirring until mixture is uniformly blended. If sugar mixture has splashed up onto inside walls of pan, wipe it clean. Also, clean the spoon .
  • Set the pan back on the stove and insert a deep fry candy thermometer in center. Heat over medium, stirring only occasionally, until candy reaches 235 to 236 (soft ball stage). You don’t have to stir constantly at first. Let it heat up until it gently starts simmering, then allow it to simmer/low boil with the temperature rising slowly and steadily. This should take 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add salt, vanilla and toasted pecans, then stir with a wooden spoon for several minutes until mixture is thick enough not to flow everywhere when dropped from a spoon. Note that it may seem hopelessly loose at first, but if you heated it to soft ball stage it will start to thicken. When it does, quickly drop by large spoonfuls onto the parchment paper.
  • Let the pralines set, then peel off the parchment.


For the pecans, I like to use halves.  Feel free to use pecan pieces or chopped pecans if you prefer.  If you use pecan pieces, you'll only need about 1 1/2 cups.
Soft Ball Stage: I take the pan off the heat around 235 or 236 knowing that the temperature may rise a little after.  This might vary by circumstance (your pot, how fast the temperature has risen, etc.), so if you remove your candy from the heat at 235 or 236 and the pralines don't set, try 238 or 240 the next time.