Mimi’s Secret Pralines

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Pralines are a much loved candy offered at most southern homes during the Christmas holidays. They are delicious and super easy to make. This is my SECRET RECIPE. I have been making these since I could stand (on chair) at my grandmere's stove. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


If you are using a gas range, use a sized pan which will not allow the flames to rise up the sides of the pot during cooking, which would cause the mixture to burn.

1/2 cup evaporated milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon bourbon
pinch salt

1 cup fresh pecan halves

1. Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper or a silpat mat and set aside.

2. In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, pour in the milk.

3. Slowly pour the sugar dead-center in the middle of the milk. Make sure you don't splatter sugar on the side of the pan.
SARAH SAYS: I add the liquid ingredients first and then the sugar; the opposite of what most candy makers suggest. The traditional way leaves some sugar dry spots in the bottom of the pan causing them to burn even though traditional instructions have you draw an "x" in the sugar to moisten it slightly or to stir the two together. 

4. Place over medium-high heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.
SARAH SAYS: Before the mixture boils, if necessary, wash the sides of the pan using a heat proof pastry brush dipped in clean water on the inside walls of the pot above the surface of the syrup. Dip the brush in water every time before washing the side of the pan! This step removes crystals that may have accumulated on the inside of the pot. If allowed to remain, these crystals might cause the pralines to become grainy.

5. Clip on the Candy Thermometer at the side of the pot. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking WITHOUT STIRRING until the mixture reaches 236 degrees F or the soft-ball stage.

6. Immediately remove from the heat and quickly stir in butter, vanilla, bourbon, salt, and then, all of the pecans at once. Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is creamy.

7. Quickly drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper forming 2-inch patties. Cool to room temperature.
DILLONSMIMI SAYS: Work quickly because the mixture hardens fast.

Store in a tightly covered container, between sheets of waxed paper, in a cool, dry place where they will keep for a month.

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