Is it “prah-leens” or is it “pray-leens”? That seems to be the eternal question regarding this iconic candy of the south. What is not in question is how delicious it is. The mixture of brown sugar, cream, butter, and pecans is fantastic on its own, but when spread on top of a fudgy brownie, it’s just incredible. Serve these Praline Brownies to your friends and watch their faces light up!
This classic Louisiana candy dates back to 1750 when it was originally made with white sugar and almonds, the preferred nut of the French settlers of the area. However, the Creoles quickly found a better alternative in pecans and replaced the white sugar with brown. In New Orleans, it was once the tradition for young women to make pralines before going to a ball and then enjoy them with friends at their homes afterward.
To make these decadent brownies, you can start with your favorite brownie recipe or do as I do and use a box mix. There are some very good brownie mixes in the grocery store and they really save time in the kitchen. My favorite is the Betty Crocker brand.
Making the praline topping is as simple as boiling some whipping cream, butter, and light brown sugar in a heavy bottomed, medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Be sure to stir frequently while the mixture is coming to the boil. Once it reaches a boil, continue to cook for one minute, while stirring constantly.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the pecans, sifted powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. (Note: be sure to sift the powdered sugar. I know it’s tempting to skip that step but powdered sugar always has little clumps in it and if you don’t sift it, you’ll wind up with lumps in your topping.)
Cool the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies. Allow it to stand for 30-45 minutes or until the frosting is set. Cut into approximately 1 1/2 inch square pieces. This is really rich and really sweet. Trust me – 1 1/2 inches is plenty :-)
- 1 box brownie mix
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 6 tblsp. butter
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Make brownie mix according to the package directions. Allow to cool completely.
- In a heavy bottomed, medium saucepan, mix the cream, butter, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil.
- Continue cooking for 1 minute, while stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat. Stir in pecans, sifted powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Cool for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Spread frosting over brownies.
- Allow to stand for 30-45 minutes or until frosting is set. Cut into approximately 1 1/2 inch square pieces.
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