If you asked me to choose my favorite pecan dessert, I would have a really difficult time because I love pecan pie, but these bourbon praline pecans would be in the running. Crunchy pralines may technically be more authentic New Orleans style, but I can’t resist the creamy version. I use real cream—no evaporated milk—because I believe if you’re going to buy a candy thermometer and make praline pecans, they deserve real cream. And yes, I say “praw-leenz.”
I make my bourbon praline pecans during the holidays. My family loves them and they make great gifts.
This recipe is the partner to the Bananas Foster milkshake recipe I developed for the magazine Where Women Cook, and you’ll find that recipe in the Spring 2011 issue which came out last week. You can make the Bananas Foster milkshake with purchased pralines or even plain candied pecans, but in case you are itching to try your hand at making candy, these are a fun way to start. I borrowed Shirley Corriher’s technique because the woman knows her stuff, but I use cream and bourbon in mine because they go together so well.
I’m delighted to be in the Spring 2011 issue of Where Women Cook and featured on their website this week. If you haven’t seen the magazine yet, it’s definitely worth checking out and I’m honored that they wanted to include me. This week I’ll be at their site, Amuse Bouche, sharing stories, tips, photos, and of course another recipe. I want to share Where Women Cook with you, and I’m offering a one-year subscription to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, just visit my Facebook fan page and click the Like button. Anyone who “likes” my Facebook fan page is entered in the giveaway. The magazine ships to U.S., Canadian, and international addresses. The giveaway closes at 8 P.M. EST on March 13, and Random.org will select the winner. Look for the announcement of the winner on the Facebook fan page soon after.
[The giveaway has ended. Thanks to everyone who participated!]
[Disclosure: This giveaway is not sponsored by Where Women Cook or Stampington & Company.]
Bourbon Praline Pecans
- baking sheet lined with foil
- 3-quart pot with heavy bottom
- candy thermometer
- heat-resistant silicone spatula
- silicone baking mat
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
- dash sea salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350° F/175°C.
- Spread the pecans on the foil-lined baking sheet and roast until lightly browned and fragrant. Add 2 tablespoon unsalted butter and salt to the hot nuts and stir. Set aside to cool.
- In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the granulated and brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the pecans and continue slowly boiling until the temperature reaches 242° F/117° C on the candy thermometer, or almost firm ball stage. If you boil it too fast, the sugar grains don’t fully dissolve and the mixture won’t set properly.
- Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and bourbon using the heat-resistant silicone spatula. Continue stirring vigorously until the candy loses its glossiness, becomes creamy in appearance, and thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t stir for too long or it will become grainy.
- Very quickly drop the candy mixture by tablespoons onto the baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, about 1 to 2 inches apart. Allow to cool completely. Store at room temperature wrapped in plastic.