Bourbon-Pecan Pralines…Yummy but Tricky

As part of my baking extravaganza this week, I made a batch of Bourbon-Pecan Pralines. I found the recipe in this month’s Southern Living, and knew I had to try it. Pralines AND bourbon? What’s not to like?

Here is the link, if you are interested in trying it out for yourself.

Overall, this was an easy recipe, and the finished pralines were very tasty. However, I did learn a valuable lesson in just how quickly candy can set. If you do try these, take heed. When cooling the sugar mixture in step three, I would only cool it to 175 degrees before adding the pecans. I waited until the suggested 150 degrees, and the mixture began to set quite rapidly. As you can see from the above picture, the first few pralines were perfect. But, as I finished scooping the last third of the mixture onto wax paper, it started to look more like this:

I worked very quickly, and probably had the whole batch scooped in less than two minutes, so I know unreasonable delays were not a factor. I think the mixture just began to cool rapidly with the addition of the pecans. By adding them at 175 degrees instead of 150, I think you would buy a little more time, as well as consistency in the final product. Also, in case you didn’t know this, you should never make pralines (or any other candy for that matter) on a rainy or excessively cloudy/humid day. Don’t ask me why…I just know it never works out. Granny says so, and that’s good enough for me.

We also tried the Bourbon Balls, but they turned out so stout, even my husband couldn’t finish them. However, I must confess that I used the cheap-o bourbon, so I won’t write this recipe off until I make it with bourbon I would actually drink. Why did I buy the cheap-o bourbon, you ask? Pregnancy obviously means no cocktails, and I find it a whole lot easier to bear if I don’t have temptation mocking me in my own house. By buying something I wouldn’t ever drink in the first place, I don’t have the constant reminder that I’ve still got three more months off the sauce. So, $10 bourbon it was. I really should have known better…I don’t cook with wine I wouldn’t drink, so why would I use bad booze in my candy? I guess I just wasn’t thinking.

Now, if I can just get through the next two days of baking, cooking, cleaning and excessively excited heathens, I’ll be doing a-ok.


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