The classic recipe for southern style praline candy combines several simple ingredients, including light brown sugar, granulated white sugar and heavy cream. Nuts are an integral part of any praline candy recipe, and Food Network features a recipe that uses pecans, a traditional choice.
Ingredients used to make praline candy can vary, depending on the recipe. For instance, chef Emeril Lagasse chooses to make his version with heavy cream, but other versions use evaporated milk, or half-and-half for richness. Cooks also have a choice of whether to use unsalted or salted butter, which may alter the flavor somewhat. Some praline candy recipes use 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for additional flavor, but chef Lagasse leaves it out of his recipe.
A heavy saucepan is required for cooking the sugars, butter, liquid and flavorings over medium to medium-high heat until completely dissolved. Some cooks may wish to use a candy thermometer to ensure the candy mixture reaches the ideal soft ball stage. After reaching the soft ball stage, the mixture is removed from the heat, and pecans and any additional ingredients are added to the mixture. Cooks must vigorously stir the candy mixture until it cools before placing spoonfuls of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets.