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A nutty history of pralines

fancy french beginnings

The origin story of pralines is a story shrouded in mystery. Stories of the official creator differ, but it tends to be widely agreed that pralines are named after Marechal du Plessis, Duke of Choiseul-Praslin. The allleged unofficial creator of the praline was Chef Clement Lassagne, the official cook to the Duke.

There are other variations to the real origin story from an apprentice of Lassagne knocking almonds into cooking caramel while preparing a meal, and Lassagne trying a hand at the confection after watching kids steal almonds and cook them with sugar over a candle. Other stories detail Chef Clement Lassagne allegedly suggesting that almonds and sugar aided in digestion, and Lassagne making the pralines as a treat for the women the Duke would court as he was allegedly a notorious ladies man.

Nevertheless, Chef Lassagne is believed to have created what we widely revere as the French Praline, which is the praline recipe that made Aunt Sally's Pralines possible. These early 18th century versions of pralines were made with whole almonds individually coated in caramelized sugar. There were no varieties in flavorings at this time, and European chefs attempting the confection would change the nut to what they could source within their local community like almonds or hazelnuts.

coming to america

The Age of Sweet American style

French settlers brought this recipe over to America – predominantly Louisiana – where both sugar cane and pecan trees were plentiful and could be harvested most easily.

French Pralines could be found in American print publications and was chronicled within Louisiana food culture by the early and mid-18th century. However, at this time, praline peddlers named Pralinieres were experimenting with a variety of substitutes, flavorings, and additives like corn, condensed milk, cocoa, and coconut to honor Indigenous and Caribbean flavor palettes.

By the early 20th century, pralines were usually a marketplace treat, rarely sold in commercial stores. Then our family created Aunt Sally's Pralines in 1935, dedicated to serving New Orleans and visiting tourists our delicious French-style pralines with white cane sugar, pecan halves, and a satisfying hint of vanilla. Our dedication to caramelizing the white sugar to a rich brown and adding the vanilla made our Original Pralines a hit in the Gulf South, and the rest is history.

Pioneering the American Southern Praline

Creating the Creamy Praline

Over several decades, our store grew to sell gifts and souvenirs for visiting tourists. By the mid century, we created our perfect recipe for the Creamy Praline with heavy cream and a secret flavoring blend that quickly became the bestselling favorite in New Orleans, the Gulf South, and eventually the world!

Where other stores stuck to condensed milk or other additives, our Creamy Praline recipe was recognized as the best recipe for both shelf stability and flavor consistency. We innovated further by creating unique Creamy Praline flavors like Cafe au Lait and Bananas Foster to truly set our confections apart as the best from the rest.

At the turn of the century, we set out to create a whole new praline that no one had ever seen before, and then the Chewy Praline was invented! Chock full of nuts and caramel, the Chewy Praline is a cult favorite addition to praline history.