These indulgent Bourbon Pecan Pralines are a traditional Southern confection. They're certain to earn a spot on your short list of special occasion sweets.
Easy Bourbon Pecan Pralines Recipe
It's no secret we love our pecans in the South. I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't love anything that featured pecans. That said, let's not forget that English walnuts, cashews, black walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia's among many other varieties, also make their appearance in sweet and savory dishes of all kinds. We aren't a one note nut loving bunch. Buttery pralines like these, are traditionally made using pecans, and this recipe features both bourbon and pecans for a killer combination that never gets old. You can read more about the history of pecans on USPecans.org here.
How to Make the Best Bourbon Pecan Pralines Recipe
When do you serve pecan pralines? These sorts of homemade candies aren't only reserved for the holidays. You can enjoy them with a cup of coffee, as a topping for cupcakes, or crumbled over vanilla ice cream. Wrap them up in pretty cellphone bags and give them as gifts to teachers, neighbors and friends.
- Ingredients you'll need to make this recipe for homemade Bourbon Pecan Pralines: Pecan halves and pieces, butter, corn syrup, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, heavy cream bourbon and vanilla extract.
- Kitchen tools you'll need: Baking sheets lined with wax paper, medium heavy bottomed saucepan, candy thermometer, measuring cups and spoons, rubber spatula, tablespoon or or small scoop for dividing the candy.
- Bourbon Pecan Pralines are in essence, candy. That's why a candy thermometer works well to guide you along the way and ensure your success. Don't be intimidated by this or any recipe, that requires a candy thermometer. It's your best friend, and it takes the guessing out of the process.
- Again, this is candy and not the time to scrimp. Go for the heavy cream, it's the necessary real deal ingredient option for making pralines.
- Traditional pralines are often stirred until completely opaque before dropping into mounds of deliciousness to set-up. I've made these so many times, I stop just before to keep the shine, as it's my personal preference. Either way works so, don't sweat the small stuff. Please note, this isn't an invitation to skip the stirring. It's vitally important to stir thoroughly so they'll set up properly.
- I recommend Kentucky bourbon for authenticity. You can certainly use you preferred bourbon maker to infuse these pralines with flavor.
- You can store bourbon pecan pralines in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months tightly sealed.
More Recipes Using Pecans to Make
I have many recipes in the recipe index that utilize pecans as an ingredient. I wanted to mention a few fan favorites for you to consider trying in your own kitchen:
- Southern Pecan Pie topped with whipped cream is always a winning dessert to make.
- Chocolate Dipped Pecan Lace Cookies are delicately delicious.
- Butter Pecan Cheesecake Bars are rich and buttery.
- My recipe for a homemade Fresh Apple Cake with Pecan Praline Sauce is to die for!
- Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies are impossible to resist.
- Buttery Pecan Cookies won't last long.
- My Honey Pecan Fried Chicken is a way to use pecans in a main dish.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Bourbon Pecan Pralines
- 3 cups pecan halves and pieces
- ½ cup salted butter
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2-4 tablespoon bourbon See Cook's note
- 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Line 2 large baking sheets with wax paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan melt together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar with cream and corn syrup. Cook, stirring over medium-high heat just until it comes to a boil.
- Immediately lower the heat to medium. Cook until a candy thermometer reaches soft ball stage. (Around 236°F) This may take as long as 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in pecans, bourbon and vanilla. Mix with a wooden or non stick spoon for 1-2 minutes or until it begins to thicken and has a matte sheen. Don't skip this step.
- Work quickly with 2 Tablespoons dropping onto wax paper in rounds, forming into even shapes. Use one Tablespoon to drop and the other to scrape the mixture from the spoon.
- Let sit until completely dry and set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- There's room to adjust the amount of bourbon flavor in these pralines. If you want to a stronger taste of bourbon, add 4 Tbsp. Just a hint of bourbon flavor can be achieved by using 1-2 Tbsp. Adjust to your preference.
- 2-3 teaspoon of pure Vanilla extract can be used in place of bourbon.
These turned out absolutely fabulous! I did have to boil them twice. The first time my candy thermometer and my instant read were different. The candy thermometer was slightly below 236 degrees but the instant read was several degrees above that. I've burned pralines before so I panicked and took them off. I added the pecans, vanilla, and maple bourbon. I stirred and stirred but it was pretty clear they weren't going to set up, so I put it all back on the burner and cooked to 236 on the candy thermometer. I took them off and stirred for a couple of minutes. They were still quite liquid, but I spooned them out anyway and they set up beautifully. Hard enough to break off a bite but very soft. Lovely texture. I'll be curious how they turn out next time. Based on these results I will be giving these as gifts! Thanks for the recipe.
I'm so happy you enjoyed these, thank you!
Could you use Rum instead of bourbon?
If you're wanting to try another flavor, I suppose you could.
Do you have this recipe in low sugar?
I don't. If you try it with a sugar substitute. let us know how it goes.
Instead of Bourbon is there another flavoring I can use? Say Almond? We don't drink and don't like the flavor of bourbon.
You can use vanilla.