Pecan Pralines

Pecan pralines have been a staple of my Christmases since I can remember.  When I was very young, every year my grandmother on my mom’s side would make at least one (if not more) batch of these delights.  My grandmother’s pralines have the wonderful sweet and buttery flavor which is the standard flavor of the candy but is generally harder in texture when compared to other pralines that I have seen. These are not caramel-like in texture but not brittle either.  They are also a rich warm medium brown in color.  When cooking, you’ll know you are near the soft ball stage when the color looks right.


  • sturdy 2 or 3 quart pot
  • wooden spoon for cooking (recommended)
  • candy thermometer
  • waxed paper, 2 cookie sheet sized sheets


  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 cups of chopped or split shelled pecans


You should have all needed ingredients portioned and ready to go. Over medium high to high heat, combine first four ingredients in a heavyweight pot and boil till candy forms a soft ball or reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer.  (At this point you should move quickly because as the candy hardens, it will be harder to spoon out.)  Remove pot from fire, and add the remaining 3 ingredients and stir together.  Once butter is melted, quickly spoon out individual portions of candy onto waxed paper and allow to cool.

This recipe was given and taught to me by my grandmother, Helen Ruth Dugan.

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