Appalachia Appalachian Food

Pralines For Christmas

Chitter and Chatter the banshees

This week I’ve been making Pralines, I always make them at Christmas. When Chatter and Chitter were little they acted like banshees (actually sometimes they still do). I had a hard time taking both of them grocery shopping with me. If I didn’t put them in the buggy they got away from me, if I did put them in the buggy there was no room for the groceries. I finally found the solution to my dilemma at a BILO store. The store had a buggy with 2 seats built into the front of it and the seats buckled so the girls couldn’t escape.

Each Christmas the BILO store handed out Christmas magazines filled with recipes. One of the Christmas handouts had this recipe in it and they turned out so well that I’ve been making them ever since.

Easy Praline Recipe



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 2 cups pecan halves (pieces work too)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


*Combine sugar, soda, salt, and buttermilk in a large saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling and stirring until mixture begins to thicken and becomes slightly creamy (210 degrees on a candy thermometer).

*Add butter and pecans, and continue boiling over medium high heat until the thermometer reaches 234 degrees (soft ball stage).


*Remove pan from heat, and add vanilla. Allow mixture to cool about 2 minutes. Beat mixture until it begins to lose its gloss and is thick and creamy. Quickly, drop by spoonfuls in 2 inch rounds on waxed paper/foil let cool. If mixture becomes too hard, immerse pan in hot water for several minutes and resume dropping candies.

Making pralines

The hardest part of the recipe is knowing when to start dropping the pralines onto the paper. I’ve dropped too soon and ended up scraping it all up to cook a little more.

The best tip I can give, other than trial and error, is too really pay attention to the mixture it does loose it’s glossy appearance and you can begin to see a difference in the texture of the mixture as well. Honestly, the pralines are so good that even if I had to scrape the mixture back into the pot and cook it a little longer every time I made them it’d be worth it. The pralines are creamy melt in your mouth goodness.


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  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    December 13, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    Our church ladies are having our Christmas get together tomorrow night. You gave such detailed instructions that I will probably be taking some pralines. I think they will be very well received. Thank you for sharing this with us. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2021 at 6:44 am

    Heh, I was about to reply to one of these posts, until I saw the date lines.
    Been making these for years, I got my recipe from Southern Living Mag, can be found online.
    Little less buttermilk, lot less butter and no vanilla.
    I buy my pecans now, I’m too old to be picking them up, cracking them, shelling them and brushing each half with a toothbrush. That little bit of shell that stays in the grooves of the nut is terribly bitter.
    I miss the hand harvested ones, much smaller than the ones you buy but they taste so much better, more oil in them I think.
    This recipe, the pralines are not as brown.
    You’re right about the timing, gotta be spot on.
    I find that an instant read thermometer, after your taste, is the best tool in the kitchen.

  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    December 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    These look and ” smell ” sooooo good, I am definitely going to have to make some of these. Thanks for the recipe and I’m hoping you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a very healthy and happy New Year.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Ow! Just made these and hot sugar is really hot! But they are cooling (along with my finger), I loved them when we went down south and tried to replicate them before. I think this is the recipe.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I have only one banshee right now and he only comes around once in a while. I love having lively little children around. It brings back the child in me. Us old folks have to call 911 when we end up on the floor. But if there is a 2-1/2 year old little boy down there with us, we can play for hours, then hop to our feet. Grandchildren provide energy to their grandparents without losing any of their own.
    Ask Granny and Pap where they would be today had those two Banshees not been around.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    That’s a cute picture of the Girls!
    I looked twice at the ingredients
    of your pralines, cause it appears
    to look a lot like Chocolate with
    pecans in it. Must be similar to
    Peanut Brittle, but looks good.

  • Reply
    Jose Luis
    December 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    dear Tipper
    I read your beautiful recipe for praline(here praliné) , and certainly is very similar to that around here do, in Argentina , the fact is that here we say our roots are in the boat and follow the traditions of European countries whose emigrants were populating my country. So for the Christmas and New Year , we put on our tables all salty foods , sweet, spicy and tasty high-calorie , they showed us our great-grandparents and grandparents who came from the northern hemisphere , that is enjoyed just as surely you do in Kentucky or North Carolina, with the difference that we do not always snow and more than 30 ° C of temperature hahaha !
    I think back to write something before, but if not send for you and your family Chatter, Chitter , Pap, Paul , Deer Hunter, and aquienes not know they are at your table , and all the Appalachians , ( it’s okay to say? ) , a cordial greeting for Christmas and the birth of the child Jesus bring happiness to all and to bring back safely to the youth of these families are serving in the Armed Forces.
    From Buenos Aires , Argentina , a big hug , José Luis .

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 14, 2013 at 11:50 am

    When I first looked at your Praline picture I thought “turtles.” Turtles without their milk chocolate overcoats. Have you had Turtles? If you dipped your Pralines in milk chocolate how would they compare?
    I have never had Pralines and never will if I have to depend on me to make them. After seeing yours and reading your descriptions, it would be a sacrilege to go buy them.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I can make pralines and you taught me a long time ago on this blog.
    Years ago – more than I like to think – I used to be with my daughter in the Summer time just us two. One day she wanted some Divinity fudge. She wanted cherry flavored and it of course it had to be pink! Got my wife’s Betty Crocker book and tried it. I totally bombed! You could just see my daughter’s little feathers drop. Well, I raked it out and started over. This time it looked just like the picture in the book! Now I can make divinity candy like a “Granny woman” !

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    December 14, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Tipper, we have quite a few twins in our family and when they are little it is quite a feat to keep them still in one place. I smiled when I read your post as I live in PA and they call it a cart here but I have always called it a buggy. I was born and raised north of Chicago to two wonderful southern parents so that is probably why I say buggy too. Years ago my husband and I were coming back from down south and stopped in Savannah. We were down on River Street and found this candy store that were handing out tiny pieces of Pralines. We were hooked – had to go in and buy some and every time we go through that city we stop for two Pralines. I’m going to try your recipe as it really looks delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Oh yum, yum…however, there is no way I could make pralines here today. Why, because I would need all the help I can get, dry shiney clean pan, good sugar, not that cheap powdery grind some are putting in their 5 lb uhhh 4 lb bags…Buttermilk…I am not a fan of buttermilk so I don’t keep in my fridge milk stock!…Pure butter…salted or unsalted…I only have a tub of margarine handy (only a stick of butter left from Thanksgiving)..Pecans..
    What has happeened to the beautiful plump Georgia pecans the last couple of years…This years look a bit better but I still got some dried up ones in my 1913 packed package!!
    I am armed with a good candy thermometer and that helps…
    If I don’t get it right, that is no interuptions, phone calls, uhhh, cell phone beeps, a betterhalf yell, a cat meow or dog yelp, a noise in the driveway (strange car, postman delivery or UPS truck, we live off the beaten path, so if there is a vehicle there, it is lost or you are having company!) Always pray, it’s not a burglar! Oh, I meant to say, pray for the burglar! As a “Hot Shot”, lives here! LOL
    The number one reason, it is very rainy, cold and the humidity, I am sure is high in the kitchen. very high…Oh yeah, and I need all of my “thinker”, “thought
    processor,” and “noodle storer” between my shoulders working in sync! Old age interfers with a lot of my work, as well, so you can see how I have to organize things beforehand!
    I will give Pralines, a try soon…I hope!
    I doubt you can make one Praline! You always have to make Pralines! Sort of like I saw that sheep this morning…or one sheep came thru the gate…???
    See what I mean? My brain is rainy and foggy this mornin”.
    So, if it drys up…I will be
    ‘paking some Malines’ real soon!
    Thanks Tipper for the recipe!
    It is tricky to keep them from turning to sugar, syrup or be hard as (rock candy)!
    You are a gem sparkling on a rainy morning!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I tried to get my wife interested in this. She said, “That’s too hard for me, besides, I don’t have a candy thermometer. Go buy some instead.”
    Maybe all the Blind Pig readers will just show up at your house to eat yours. There’s enough of us to shove those girls out of the way.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Who would have thought pralines called for such basic ingredients? I have got to give this recipe a try. How cute the little banshees are!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 9:41 am

    This sounds great, but I have learned to try mistake free recipes. It is nice to be able to go on your site and look up old recipes.
    Loved loved loved the story about Shooting Creek.

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    December 14, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Those look so yummy! I love seeing pictures of Chitter and Chatter from years ago.
    Merry Christmas

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    December 14, 2013 at 8:32 am


  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Oh Tipper, that picture, those precious little girls. They are grown now. Were they ever really that little? I know they were but the contrast is just so great. They were beautiful children and they are beautiful young women. They were active and alive children and they are still active and alive.
    I love your Pralines. I always hope you will still have some when i come to visit for Christmas. I seem to just keep nibbling on them till I almost make myself sick….they are soooo goodI

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    December 14, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Pralines very tricky, but as you say, worth it. Mother used to make divinity and it’s even more finicky . I don’t have the patience.
    Cute picture of banshees.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 14, 2013 at 7:14 am

    They look wonderfu, I am making candy for Christmas this year, I will try this recipe.

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