Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Orleans Style Pecan Pralines

   After any trip to an unusual place, but especially after every trip to New Orleans, I come home full of cravings and ideas and this insatiable desire to adapt those things to my own to my home. Or my home to that town, or whatever. The urge covers everything from recipes to decorating ideas and (of course) gardening. Once in a while I get lucky and discover some foreign treasure that both Handsome and I would like to enjoy again, as is the case with Pecan Pralines.

   Last week in New Orleans, while strolling somewhere between downtown and the French Quarter, we followed our noses past the raw sewage (an unfortunate fact of life in some parts) and into a heavenly cloud of butter and sugar and toasted pecans and other wonderful fragrances. We cruised a glass front case that had been stocked with every imaginable variation of praline possibly known to man. We watched someone making the pralines fresh. And then we sampled tiny little crumbs offered by a temptress in a cotton apron, both of us staidly acting as if we still might not actually buy anything.


   So anyway, ten minutes and eighteen dollars later we emerged from the store with a box full of various candies, sealed with a pretty little foil sticker. I may or may not have felt panicky over the long walk back to the hotel. Will they melt in the box? What if we get mugged? I feel faint, I think my blood sugar is low. We better stop and eat all of these right now, just in case of all that. I definitely said most of this out loud.

   I am fairly certain my husband took a deeper breath than he actually needed, and he purposefully did not make eye contact with me.

   We each ate one praline as we walked through the skinny, bricked streets lined with book stores and art galleries. None of the other pralines melted. We certainly did not get mugged. And my blood sugar has not been low once since that heavenly day. That is how powerfully sweet these things are.

   I was shocked and delighted that Handsome liked this delicacy enough to want more. So when we got home I suggested he look up some recipes, and within a few minutes we had agreed on the first one to try. You can find it by clicking on this link.  It is perfect. PERFECT. I do not need to try any more.


   If you own a candy thermometer; if you can gather six basic pantry supplies; and if you have half an hour to spend in the kitchen then another half an hour to let these firm up, then you too can have New Orleans style Pecan Pralines. I pinky promise you this. I am not really known for my candy making skills, but I must say that this was super easy. It was even easier than making cookies, and much faster. Go figure, since it hails from the Big Easy, right?

   The photo above was taken immediately after I spooned the hot mixture onto waxed paper. The pralines look extra dark, almost like chocolate no-bake cookies, but that changes.

   A couple of hours later they were sturdy, flat bottomed, and that believable golden pecan color that makes me miss my Grandma Stubbs.

   As I write this, the time is 2:46 p.m. I have already eaten two pralines since lunchtime, and my blood sugar levels would probably give a hummingbird the shakes. That weird but wonderful sensation is the only thing ensuring that my husband will have pralines to eat when he gets home from the Commish. It also means I will never be making this recipe while he is out of town, because basically I don't trust myself.

   More Nawlins stories and inspiration to come, I just had to share this with you guys real quick.

Eat dessert first.


  1. Replies
    1. M, shall we see if these replace the standard slumber party fare of shortbread?? xo

  2. The best pralines I've ever eaten were from Charleston, SC and the smell coming from that little candy shop was unbelievable. I wish I could come over this morning and eat pralines and read lines from Wendell Berry's books together:))))
    Much love and those look amazing!

    1. Edie, I agree the smell was a huge part of the pleasure... (At least half the reason I cook most recipes! LOL) I would so love for you to visit for coffee and lofty conversation. Your sweet girls could feed the horses and buffalo. Have a wonderful day! xo


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