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Be sure to use a heavy Dutch oven and a candy thermometer, and make pralines on a day when the weather is dry—humidity can make them grainy.

Recipe by Southern Living December 2011

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Credit: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe Summary

hands-on:
30 mins
total:
1 hr 8 mins
Yield:
Makes 2 dozen
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 15 minutes).

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  • Meanwhile, bring brown sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 236° (soft ball stage). Remove sugar mixture from heat.

  • Let sugar mixture stand until candy thermometer reaches 150° (20 to 25 minutes). Stir in vanilla and pecans using a wooden spoon; stir constantly 1 to 2 minutes or just until mixture begins to lose its gloss. Quickly drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto wax paper; let stand until firm (10 to 15 minutes).

  • TRY THESE TWISTS!

  • Chocolate-Pecan Pralines: Prepare as directed through Step Add 2 (1-oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking squares to sugar mixture. (Do not stir.) Proceed as directed in Step

  • Café au Lait Pecan Pralines: Add 2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules with brown sugar in Step

  • Bourbon-Pecan Pralines: Add 1/4 cup bourbon with brown sugar in Step

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