Ashley Schoenith’s Old-Fashioned Southern Pralines

If you’re looking for pure nostalgia in cookbook, flip open the pages of The Heirloomed Kitchen: Made-from-Scratch Recipes to Gather Around for Generations (Gibbs Smith 2024) and give a recipe a whirl. Author Ashley Schoenith channels generations of Southern hospitality and shares their knowledge with you. Take this classic candy recipe. Here’s what the author has to say about it:

Dating back to the 1750s, pralines were first made by the French with almonds and white sugar. The Creoles of New Orleans soon found a superior alternative, using pecans and brown sugar instead. Today, pralines are considered a staple of Southern candies, crunchy, creamy, and perfectly sweet, making them absolutely irresistible.

Makes approximately 12 pralines


  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves, chopped, plus more for topping


Make the Pralines:

  1. Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Put the sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, milk, and butter in the pan. Over medium heat, stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugars have dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook to a soft ball stage, approximately 236 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla and pecans, and beat with a wooden spoon by hand for 2 minutes or until the candy is slightly thick and begins to lose its shininess. Quickly drop heaping tablespoons onto waxed paper. Press extra pecan halves in the center of each candy.

Recipe excerpt from The Heirloomed Kitchen: Made-from-Scratch Recipes to Gather Around for Generations by Ashley Schoenith.

Photography by Heidi Harris. Reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith Books.


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