Inspired by our visit to River Street Sweets and Savannah Candy Kitchen in Savannah, Georgia, these Chocolate Pecan Pralines are loaded with rich cocoa flavor and the crunch of sweet pecans. They crumble and melt in your mouth in the most delightful way!
We have friends who live in Georgia who took us to Savannah when we went to visit them. While we were there, we walked down to River Street where there are some incredible candy shops that offer samples of fresh, sometimes warm, pecan pralines.
If you have never had one, they are an absolute revelation as far as sweets goes. I think of them as a cross between a cookie and a candy. And you can get them in both the classic flavor and a deeply chocolatey flavor.
I immediately came home and made the classic version for my American Eats series when I was working on Georgia recipes. But I only just recently got around to making the chocolate version. And it was so easy!
My husband and kids LOVED these. I've been making quite a lot of sweets lately while gearing up for the holidays, and these were the thing that got eaten first by everyone.
Chocolate Praline Ingredients
- Sugar: Both granulated sugar and brown sugar work together to create the rich, sweet praline base of this recipe.
- Butter: I always use salted butter in my baking and candy making.
- Evaporated milk: This ingredient is richer than regular milk and adds a wonderful depth of flavor.
- Cocoa powder: I used regular, unsweetened Hershey's cocoa powder in this recipe because it's so readily available to any home baker.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla brings out the best in all the other ingredients and creates depth in sweets.
- Salt: It's not a lot, but it definitely balances things out.
- Pecan halves: If you store your nuts in the freezer like I do (they last so much longer!), be sure to pull them out well in advance so you aren't adding cold nuts to the hot praline mixture.
How to Make Chocolate Pralines
Why are my pralines gritty?
If you have a problem with your pralines turning out gritty, chances are that the mixture cooked too long or at too high of a temperature. You will see that the mixture turns crumbly and dry. You can sometimes save it by adding a teaspoon or two of really hot water at a time and stirring it in.
At the same time, undercooking the praline mixture can result in candy that won't set up. It's why I highly recommend using a candy thermometer when making pralines.
How long does it take for pralines to set?
If the pralines are properly cooked, they will set up within about 20-60 minutes. I have heard that they won't set up on a rainy or humid days, but so far haven't experienced that myself. If that happens, you might try placing them in the fridge for a bit to see if that helps.
Chocolate pralines will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. You could also store them in the fridge.
More Recipes Like This
- Grandma Nash's Butter Almond English Toffee
- Old-Fashioned Divinity
- Homemade Peanut Brittle
- White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge
- Oreo Truffles
- Creamy Chocolate Fudge
- Homemade Cream Caramels
- Candy Coated Crispix Mix
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Chocolate Pecan Pralines
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar packed
- 1 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium-size heavy pot, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, evaporated milk, butter, and cocoa powder. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the sugars dissolve and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Continue to cook until the temperature reaches between 235-240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). Remove from heat and allow the praline mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the pecans and vanilla, beating by hand with a wooden spoon just until the candy begins to lose its glossiness and thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. If you beat too long, the candy will seize and start to crumble. If you don't beat it long enough, then pralines won't set properly and will stay soft and sticky.
- Work quickly to drop heaping tablespoons (I use a small cookie dough scoop) of chocolate praline mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. If the praline mixture begins to harden in the pan, add a teaspoon of hot water at a time and stir to keep the mixture loose enough to scoop and drop.
- Cool completely until set and the pralines have reached room temperature. Store in an airtight container on the counter for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.