Legend has it that the praline was introduced to the south by French settlers in the seventeenth century. Back then, the original treat featured almonds coated in sugar, however, pecans quickly replaced almonds due to their abundant availability in the south. Eventually, milk and cream was added to the recipe – transforming the bland confectionery into decadent, caramel-like dollops of pecan-filled nirvana. Pralines quickly became the talk of the south and demand began to grow. Street vendors and candy shops owners began to sell praline to the locals and they were traded throughout the nation. Tourist would travel from far and wide just for a taste of authentic southern praline.
Today not much has changed, praline is still the talk of the south and the demand is just as high, and tourist still stock up on a few pieces before heading back home. The traditional recipe and process of making has also remained unchanged, which is one of the reasons why the treat is still so highly valued. Many candy shops in the south stay true to the core praline recipe while adding complementary ingredients to make the confectionery distinctive to their shop. Here at Woody Candy Company, we use fresh jumbo-sized pecan halves as well as walnuts in our praline recipe. We continue to make our praline in small batches – carefully mixing the freshest ingredients, scooping individually and laying the confectionery to cool on a slab of stone. The treat is delicious on its own, however, pieces can be mixed into homemade ice creams, pies and cakes to create something truly heavenly.
A Brief History of Southern Pecans:
Pecans are the only major nut-tree native to the United States. And, although the nut originated in North America, the South unofficially adopted it as one of its signature crops when it was successfully grafted to southern soil by a plantation worker in the seventeenth century. Pecan festivals are held throughout the south and beyond as a continual show of value and love for the nut. Pecans are the perfect compliment to pralines and other southern treats because of its mild flavor and its perseverance to different temperatures. The nut also contains an abundance of protein and vitamins – making it healthy as well as delicious.