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New Orleans style pralines have their origin in 18th century France. There once lived a French Marshal and Diplomat named Cesar du Plessis-Praslin (pronounced prah-lin). His chef invented a recipe for coating almonds in sugar, to be consumed as a digestive aid. He named the confection pralines, after Marshal Praslin.
Today, the word "praline" is common throughout France and Belgium to describe any confection made with nuts.