Culinary history tells us that pralines originated in France at the Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte, where the cook of 17th century sugar industrialist Marshal du Plessis-Praslin made the candies by coating whole almonds in caramelized sugar.
In the 19th century, French aristocrats in New Orleans gave the candies a new twist.
There was an abundance of sugar in Louisiana but no almonds. There were, however, lots of pecans. The confection was adapted by adding cream to the sugar mixture, and pecans were folded into the delectable combination.
it's during the Christmas season that many locals get out their pots to make a few batches of their own.
When I worked at the Windsor Court Hotel, we were making pralines for the housekeeping staff to use as turn down treats. We made several hundred a day. It reached a point I didn't need a candy thermometer, I could tell just by looking at the size of the bubbles when it was ready to scoop onto parchment.
Now, besides making gumbo this weekend, I will be making pralines.