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​Pecan Bourbon Pralines Recipe for a Sweet and Southern Holiday Season

Vicki Shivers - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

”PralineNo trip to the South is complete without a good ol’ Southern Praline. If you haven’t tried this sweet treat, chock full of the South’s favorite ingredients - pecans and butter - you are missing it for sure!

Here’s a little history lesson for you...Pralines were first created in 1636 when French chef, Clement Lassagne, decided to put whole roasted almonds into a pot of boiling sugar. The result was a delicious discovery of caramelized almonds. These tasty treats came to be known as pralines and were named so after Lassagne’s employer, the Marshal du Plessis-Praslin.


This may be surprising to most folks, as pralines are synonymous with the Southern states of the U.S. In fact, French immigrants in the South took the traditional praline recipe and used local ingredients that were easier to get. Pecans and brown sugar were substituted for almonds and white sugar, and were cooked with butter and cream to form the small patties… and the New Southern Praline was born.


To pay tribute to the wonderful cuisine of the area, below is a recipe from celebrity Chef Robert Irvine for his Pecan Bourbon Pralines. There are many different varieties of pralines, but all are built on the same basic recipe from 1636 France. Chef Irvine’s praline recipe adds yet another hint of southern hospitality with the addition of bourbon, a favorite of Southerner’s and the main ingredient of the infamous Mint Julep. It appears that the charm of the South may be rubbing off on the English chap, as his praline recipe is filled with a heapin’ helping of southern hospitality!

Chef Irvine’s Pecan Bourbon Pralines


2 Cups Pecan Halves

3 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Heavy Cream

½ Stick Unsalted Butter (4 Tbsp)

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses

2 Tablespoons Bourbon

(You will also need a Candy Thermometer)



Pre-heat the oven to 325º F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast lightly just until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool completely and set aside.

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick liner. In a deep, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cream, butter, salt molasses and bourbon.


Place over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up lumps and to dislodge any sugar stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Bring to a boil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture the mixture registers 240º F on a candy thermometer, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on how vigorously the mixture is boiling. Remove from heart and let cool to 210º F.


Add the pecans to the sugar mixture and stir vigorously. The mixture will begin to thicken, so you must work quickly. Drop the sugar mixture from a spoon onto the prepared baking sheet, forming circles about 3 inches in diameter, and let cool. Another option is to pour the contents of the pan onto the prepared baking sheet, spread the mixture out, let it cool, and break into pieces with your hands.