Pralines were named for the French diplomat Cesar du Plessis-Praslin, later Duc de Choiseul.
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup light cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups pecans, halves
In a heavy iron pan, combine 2 cups of the sugar with the cream and butter, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
In a separate heavy pan, melt the remaining sugar and cook it until it is caramel-colored. Add the cream, butter and sugar syrup to the caramel mixture. Add pecan halves, and cook the mixture to the soft-ball stage — 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat and beat the mixture until it thickens. Drop spoonsful of the mixture onto wax paper to form pralines about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Let the pralines harden.