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Hazel’s Perfect Praline Recipe

I am a big fan of pecans (I have 5 stately pecan trees in my yard) and an even bigger fan of pralines. These pralines are not of the chewy-sticky-skimpy-on-pecans variety, but of the melt-in-your-mouth-chock-full-of-pecans variety, with buttermilk added for a bit of tang. The Hazel of this recipe is my husband’s grandmother who hailed from New Orleans.

Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes | Yield: 2-3 dozen pralines (depending on size)

Pecan Pralines


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 -4 cups whole pecans
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Pralines Cooking

Combine sugar, buttermilk and soda. Cook to almost softball stage.

Pralines to Softball

Add pecans and cook to softball stage. Remove from heat and quickly stir in butter and vanilla. Drop from spoonful onto parchment paper.

Pralines Cooling

Pralines Cooling

  1. Preparation: Lay out two sheets of parchment or wax paper on counter top for pralines to set and cool. Set out two spoons to scoop and drop pralines onto parchment paper and a hot pad to place your saucepan on.
  2. In a 2-1/2 to 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, buttermilk, and baking soda. Cook, stirring continuously, over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Fit a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan and stir occasionally until temperature reaches 230°F . Stir in pecans then cook to softball stage (235 – 240° F ). Remove from heat.
  3. Working quickly, beat in butter and vanilla with wooden spoon for a few moments until combined. With two spoons (one to scoop, the other to slide pralines off with) drop pralines onto parchment paper. Again, work quickly because the pralines will begin to harden a bit. (If pralines do begin to harden before you’re done, stir in a teaspoon of very hot water to soften.) Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container or wrap individual pralines in plastic wrap.

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