Today is the last day of Mardi Gras… and it’s Fat Tuesday! I’ve been thinking a lot about New Orleans, the drinks of New Orleans, and the food of New Orleans. It makes me want to pack a bag and drive the 8-ish hours to visit. Unfortunately, I can’t just pick up and go, so instead I decided to make food that reminds me of the city.
When I was in New Orleans a few years ago, one of the things I brought back to Austin with me was a bag of pralines in different flavors. They were so good (and so sweet!), and I thought… hey, this is a pretty easy way to bring a bag of New Orleans into our house. And apparently a VERY sweet treat.
This recipe made about 24 bourbon pecan pralines, so be forewarned.. it can be dangerous to have that many sugary treats in your house. Or it can be deliciously wonderful. Because TWO kinds of sugar. And pecans! Also bourbon. But OMG so much sugar. Seriously, these are incredibly sweet!
If you’re not familiar with pralines, they’re a type of candy/cookie that are from the American South. They typically contain sugar, pecans, and have sort of a fudgy texture (other than the pecans!) French settlers brought the recipe to Louisiana. Strolling around New Orleans, you’ll see a lot of places selling these delicious sugary treats.
I definitely recommend a candy thermometer for these bourbon pecan pralines. It will help you know exactly when to remove the pot from the heat. I checked out a lot of recipes and 238 F seems to be the magic number!
To make these delicious candy treats, you toast up the pecans, and then combine sugar, butter, milk, vanilla extract, bourbon, and the toasted pecans and cook in a pot on the stove. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, cool, and then these southern pecan pralines are done! They are surprisingly easy to make and the perfect treat for Mardi Gras or just to bring to any gathering. Or when you need a bit of a sugar high!
Looking for more easy desserts? Check out these!
I adapted the following recipe from two delicious-sounding praline recipes I found:
Pecan Pralines at Dramatic Pancake
Southern Pecan Pralines at The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie
Bourbon Pecan Pralines
- Candy thermometer
- 2 cups pecans - halved
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- sea salt for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread pecan halves onto a baking sheet and toast for 6 minutes (mixing halfway through). Remove from oven and cool.
- Take two baking sheets and line with parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- To a large pot add the brown and white sugars, butter, and milk and melt together over medium heat.
- Stir in pecans and heat to 238 degrees F (check that candy thermometer!), stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and bourbon.
- Continue stirring for about 3-4 minutes until thickened and creamy.
- Quickly drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheets, leaving room as the mixture will spread slightly.
- Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
- Allow pralines to cool before removing from the baking sheets.