A signature sweet of New Orleans, Pralines are unique candied treats adored by natives and visitors alike. Described as the nuttier cousin to fudge and known to melt in your mouth, pralines come in many shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. From traditional to unique and downright bazaar, these candies are the perfect gift to travel with and share for all to experience a small piece of New Orleans. They also make great favors for weddings, parties and holidays.
You can even celebrate this southern sweet on its own day–June 24 is National Praline Day!
Whether made at home or purchased at a candy shop, there are several ways to make pralines. Most recipes include a few traditional base ingredients: sugar, milk, butter and pecans.
The New Orleans School of Cooking teaches guests to make a traditional praline. Whether in the French Quarter or in the comfort of your own home, you can use this recipe to make a batch of your own.
1½ cups of Sugar
¾ cups of Brown Sugar
½ cup of Milk
6 tablespoons of Butter (¾ of a stick)
1½ cups Pecans (Roasted optional)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil achieving “softball stage”* (238-240°). Remove from heat. Stir until mixture ( stirring constantly), becomes creamy and cloudy, and pecans stay suspended in the mixture. Spoon out on buttered waxed paper, or parchment paper. When using waxed paper, be sure to buffer with newspaper underneath, as hot wax will transfer to whatever is underneath.
NOTE: To roast pecans, bake them on a sheet pan at 275° for 20-25 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.
OPTIONS: Praline sauce ( add 1/2 cup corn syrup to mixture.) Chocolate covered praline candy. Flavored pralines (chocolate, coffee, brandy, etc.)
Recipe courtesy of the New Orleans School of Cooking.
While some may argue that traditional is the best route to take when it comes to pralines, there are a number of unique spins on this southern candy including chocolate, rum, coconut and peanut butter. The options are limitless. Praline-filled king cakes and cheesecake or bread pudding drizzled in praline sauce are also often spotted on dessert menus across the city. There are even praline-stuffed beignets and praline bacon for brunch! For more inspiration on where to get pralines and to explore some of the unique takes on this uniquely NOLA candy, browse the list below.