New Orleans-Style Pralines

This combination of white sugar, half-and-half, and butter makes a ­classic creamy praline. Measure all of your ingredients ahead of time; the process moves quickly.


    •  2½ cups sugar, divided
    •  1 cup half-and-half
    •  1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    •  Pinch of kosher salt
    •  2 cups pecan halves
    •  14 vanilla extract


  1. Line two large baking sheets with wax paper and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 cups sugar, the half-and-half, butter, and salt; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to combine.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium stainless-steel pot, add the remaining ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir well, then bring to a boil over high heat. Cook without stirring until the sugar mixture turns a deep, golden caramel, about 2 minutes.

  3. Working quickly and carefully, turn off the stove and pour all of the half-and-half mixture, as well as the pecans and vanilla extract, into the pot of caramel. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously to combine, then return to medium-high heat.

  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage ( 235°F), 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the thermometer.

  5. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens and turns glossy (7–9 minutes). Use a large spoon to scoop rounded tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between each praline. Cool completely before serving at room temperature.

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