Rie’s Pecan Pralines


These melt-in-your-mouth sugary candies get layers of flavor from nutty pecans, butterscotch morsels, and almond extract and are perfect for holiday gifting.

Rie’s Pecan Pralines

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
2 dozen

Pecan pralines (often called “pecan candy”) are one of the most prized confections in Louisiana, and locals know that there’s nothing like a homemade batch of the nutty, creamy delicacy. At the holiday celebrations of Angie and June Provost, who farm sugarcane in Louisiana, Esther Ardoin (also known as Rie), is the family’s designated pecan candy expert. Keeping the fundamental ingredients of pecan candy, like sugar, margarine, and pecans, Esther also includes butterscotch morsels and almond extract, adding complex layers of sweetness to the treat and to the holiday season. The resulting melt-in-your-mouth sugary candies pick up a caramel flavor from the cooked sugar syrup and the butterscotch chips. Nutty pecans add a soft, crunchy texture to the sweet and decadent pralines. These quick and easy make-ahead treats rely on a candy thermometer for the proper cooking temperature and delicate texture.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (from 1 [12-ounce] can), plus more if needed

  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, plus more for greasing pan

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 2 cups chopped pecans (about 8 ounces)


  1. Grease 2 large baking sheets with butter; set aside. Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and evaporated milk in a large pot. Cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 240°F, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butterscotch chips, butter, and almond extract until butter and chips are melted, about 1 minute. Quickly add pecans; stir vigorously until mixture thickens and loses some of its shine, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  2. Quickly scoop mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls and drop 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. (If mixture hardens, add 1 tablespoon additional evaporated milk at a time until mixture returns to a spoonable consistency.)

  3. Let pralines cool until hardened, about 10 minutes.

To Make Ahead

Store pralines in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


The praline mixture will begin to thicken once removed from the heat; have the baking sheets ready and scoop quickly.

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