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.
Bourbon Pecan Pralines Celebrate the South's Love of Pecans
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 onenote 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.
Helpful Tips for Making Pecan Pralines
- 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.
Other Pecan Confections and Desserts to Try
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:
- Southern Pecan Pie
- Butter Pecan Cheesecake Bars
- Fresh Apple Cake with Pecan Praline Sauce
- And a savory option Honey Pecan Fried Chicken
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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 Tbsp bourbon See Cook's note
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp 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 tsp of pure Vanilla extract can be used in place of bourbon.