Cocoa, pecans and cinnamon: these praline creole biscuits are bursting with flavors worthy of a dessert

These cookies goes back to when I was college undergraduate work part-time as a courier in a large law firm. If you’re unfamiliar, a courier performs some clerical duties like copying and filing, but primarily acts as a courier, hand-delivering documents to other law firms, the courthouse, or clients. I had only been in the job for a short time when the company’s senior partners decided to hire a chef. They believed it would be theirs to have a homemade option for lunch meetings with clients and guests rather than driving to local restaurants downtown, which are usually noisy and often crowded.

The woman they hired was a self-proclaimed Cajun named Brenda, who had just moved to the town of Chalmette, Louisiana, about twenty miles east of New Orleans. She had a very heavy New Orleans accent and she said her name was “Yat”, explaining that the name came from the phrase “Where are you?” which was shortened to “Where is it?” His e the sounds were more like D sounds, pronouncing the word “those” as “dozing”, and if a word ended in –uh, like “number”, she said, “num-bah”. Plump, red-haired and sassy, ​​she and I hit it off immediately and at her request, I became a sort of sous-chef.

While preparing the food, tasting and talking, she taught me how to make many of her dishes and I learned a lot from her Yat-isms In the process

As a very busy and very poor student, I loved being with her in her slower paced but very efficient kitchen. While preparing food, tasting and talking, she taught me to make a lot of his dishes and I learned a lot from her Yat-isms In the process. For example, when she sent me shopping, she said that I had to Craft races. When I came back with the groceries, I had to to register them, that is, put them away. When she couldn’t think of the name of something, she would say, “Give me something” (pronounced kek-shawz, French for “something”). It was an education in more ways than one.

We talked about the story of New Orleans — how different it was from other cities in the south, about its French and Spanish heritage, and how Creole and Cajun are very distinct and different, referring to completely different people coming to Louisiana/New Orleans at completely different times. Because of her stories, I became even more interested in the history of Louisiana, understanding it to be closely aligned with the history of my own hometown of Mobile, Alabama, as it too had once been part of New France once upon a time.

The first French colony in America dates back to 1682, with New Orleans itself being established soon after in 1718. The capital of this vast and new French colony, called New France, was in Quebec and included land from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains and from Hudson’s Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.

“Créole” was the name given to people born in the French colony rather than in Europe. While people of all races can and have identified as Louisiana Creole, many were multiracial thanks to the confluence of Native Americans, Africans, and European immigrants concentrated in the state. The result Creole cuisine came from these immigrants bringing their own cooking styles while incorporating the ingredients of the colony.

“Cajuns” and Cajun food arrived long after Britain won the French and Indian War in 1763. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1850s that they came as Acadian refugees from the west. Their cuisine was also their own, a mixture of Acadian “country cuisine” with that of the people of the region, mainly Native Americans (mainly Choctaw), Africans and Creoles.

If you’ve never read about it, this period of American history is fascinating. New cultures and cuisines have been born, especially in bustling port cities like New York, Mobile and New Orleans where Spaniards, French and other Europeans made their way among those who were already there. New Orleans — as MobileBiloxi, Baton Rouge and other southern cities that started as part of New France — developed very differently from the rest of the southern Anglo-Saxon cities and states of the United States.

Brenda also fed me almost every day because, you know, somebody had to make sure everything tasted good before we served our afternoon guests, and I had to bring home the food of the day. Leftovers. It would have been a real gift for anyone, but as a struggling student, I was very grateful. She was a second mother to me and I absolutely adored her.

She made these praline cookies almost every week because one of the main partners, whose sweet tooth never seemed to get enough, couldn’t get enough. He preferred them to all his other delicious cookies, pastries and confections with his afternoon cup of Earl Gray. I guess there is something gained from repetition as I started churning out batch after batch every week. I’ve been making them ever since, and that was almost 35 years ago!

I guess there is something gained from repetition as I started churning out batch after batch every week. I’ve been making them ever since, and that was almost 35 years ago!

The name, Praline cookie, is a bit misleading because they have nothing to do with a praline. They see like a praline because of their color, visible chopped pecans, and the way they spread when baking, but that’s about where the similarity ends. And if you make them gluten-free, there is no similarity. Not only will they not spread out into a thin praline-like shape, but they also won’t have a praline-like color. However, they will still taste amazing (but you might want to rename them if you go gluten-free).

These cookies have also been confused with cakes with chocolate chips at first glance, and although not my favorite, chocolate chips might be this country’s most beloved cookie. I can tell you from experience that when a chocolate chip cookie lover thinks a solution is at hand, disappointment abounds when the socket falls short of expectation. That said, no one is already disappointed with this biscuit. I think that’s quite the compliment as I was greeted with pure rudeness once when someone mistook my oatmeal raisin cookies for chocolate chips.

It is difficult to describe the flavor of these praline cookies. When you look at the ingredients, you might think you can imagine the taste of the final product, but you will be surprised. The cocoa adds depth but is undetectable when it comes to providing true chocolate flavor. The cinnamon passes, but it is very soft. Raisins are a bit of a mystery. They blend in with the overall flavor and provide a sweetness much like the molasses in a ginger. I know a lot of people who don’t like raisins and still love these cookies.

Writing about these cookies, I remember my stampede when I was in college. I worked part-time, went to school full-time, participated in community theater and/or taught dance classes most nights. I certainly wouldn’t be able to keep up with my younger self today. I feel a bit like a proud parent when I think back to that time and all that I accomplished back then.

These cookies have accompanied me for much of my life and I never get tired of them. I have shared them so often and with so many people. I am so happy to share them with you now.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, cocoa, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar with a mixer, then add the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture, mixing well.
  5. Add raisins and pecans and stir evenly.
  6. Pinch off enough dough to form small balls about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and lightly pat the tops of each, so they don’t round up or down.
  7. Cook only until golden brown. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack. They will firm up as they cool.

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