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The Praline Queen of NC: Miss Renee’ & The 2 J’s

If you have ever tried to make pralines, you know it’s not an easy task. Between tedious measuring and constant stirring, these pecan candies are usually a dish I avoid making. However, I fondly remember enjoying these treats as a child, and usually pick up a bag whenever I can. So, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered Miss Renee’ & The 2 J’s. Miss Renee’ brought a taste of her native Louisiana to the heart of NC with her home-based family business.

What is a praline?

Miss Renee & 2 J's praline nc
All of Miss Renee’s pralines are made in her home kitchen in Cary, NC

The history of the praline is as rich as its flavor, with several theories surrounding its origin. A French diplomat from the early 17th century (Caesar, Duke of Choiseul, Count of Plessis-Praslin) assumes credit for the treat’s namesake . Although the treat was named after the Count, the actual culinary genius behind the praline is believed to be Chef Lassagne.

Whatever the real story, we know that the original French praline was roughly a sweet confection made of almonds and some sort of creamy sugary caramelized coating. When the candy arrived in New Orleans in 1727, almonds were in short supply, but pecan trees were not. Consequently, the praline became a sugary, creamy, pecan-laden candy. These new pecan pralines quickly spread throughout the New Orleans culture and became a common confection in the area. 

Praline shop in 1700’s New Orleans

In the 19th century, selling pralines in the streets became a way for emancipated black women to make a living. New Orleans was a thriving port city, allowing the treats to spread throughout the USA and remain a southern staple on the dessert table.

“Louisiana Taste, North Carolina Made”

Miss Renee & 2 J's praline nc
Miss Renee & 2 J's praline nc

Stephannie Renee’ Cooper Senegal is originally from Alexandria, Louisiana, where making “pecan candy” is a cherished tradition. In 2018, she started Miss Renee & The 2 J’s with her sons, Joshua and John (“LJ”) out of their home in Cary, NC. Opening the family business fulfilled a life-long dream of Stephannie Renee’s. This has allowed her to spend time with her sons while creating something she loves.

Stephannie Renee’ uses “Miss Renee'” as her candy-making moniker. She creates delicious, addictive treats, perfect for any occasion (or just to enjoy at home). Generations-old family recipes include: original, bourbon, and coconut rum pralines, as well as the “oh so addictive” praline crunch. Miss Renee’ herself recommends the bourbon praline! The trio will also fill custom orders for parties, wedding favors, and work events (as well as “just because”). Just be warned, if you order some “pray-leens” she will kindly ask you how many “prah-leens” you would like!

“From Kitchen Sales to Store Shelves”

When Miss Renee’ opened for business, the trio took telephone and online orders, as well as special requests from social media. Today, you can find these delectable morsels of heaven in: The Butcher’s Market in Cary, Sweet Tea & Cornbread Homegoods in Crabtree Valley Mall, and NOFO @ The Pig in Raleigh. Miss Renee’’s goals in 2020 and beyond include getting her pralines into more local specialty shops. #tastelikeadream. We wish you the best of luck!

Thank you, Miss Renee’, for sharing your delicious pralines and unique family business with us North Carolinians.

Have you tried Miss Renee”s pralines? Let us know how much you loved them!

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17 thoughts on “The Praline Queen of NC: Miss Renee’ & The 2 J’s

  1. Yes, I have tried Miss Renee’ & The 2 J’s pralines; however, my favorite treat is the “praline crunch”. I panic when I see that I’m running low and quickly restock my supply as soon as possible. Yes, you might say that I’m addicted to it; but, there are a few things in life that make you happy on a consistent level, and this does that for me. Continued success to Miss Renee’ & The 2 J’s. Thank you for sharing her story.

  2. Congratulations. Pray God will continue to Richly Bless Your Business. I am Happy for you all. Again, Congratulations.

  3. I liked learning about the history of pralines. I haven’t had them often but they’re always a treat. How are “pralines” pronounced anyway?

  4. I love pecans and I love pralines, but I definitely pronounce it “pray-leens!” I have not tried Miss Renee’s version, but they sound delicious.

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