This pecan bourbon fudge recipe is the perfect blend of sweet fudgy goodness and rich, oh so soothing, Kentucky bourbon. Perfect for your bourbon loving sweet tooth!
PECAN BOURBON FUDGE – WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
- How to pick the right bourbon for making bourbon fudge
- The best supplies for homemade fudge
- Tips for making fudge at home
HOW TO PICK A GOOD BOURBON FOR YOUR PECAN BOURBON FUDGE RECIPE
While there is a subtle hint of chocolate in this pecan bourbon fudge, the flavor is really all about the bourbon. So you want to make sure to pick a good smooth bourbon with flavors that will blend well with the cocoa and sugar.
Each bourbon has different flavors based on whether they’re rye or wheat based, the barrels they’re aged in, etc. Any of the three bourbons above should be easy enough to find, and could work well in your bourbon fudge recipe.
Being a whisky girl who loves a good bourbon, my choice for making bourbon fudge is Buffalo Trace. It’s got a bit of a slightly spicier flavor to it, but is still pretty smooth. I find Maker’s Mark to be a sweeter bourbon, and fudgy sugar and cream sweetness doesn’t need the extra sweetness from the Maker’s.
If you’re only buying the bourbon to make pecan bourbon fudge, and don’t plan on drinking it, just get some good old Jim Beam. It’s cheaper, and will still taste just fine.
THE BEST SUPPLIES FOR HOMEMADE PECAN BOURBON FUDGE
The only absolutely crucial tool for easy homemade fudge, is a good candy thermometer. While you can definitely use the softball test (which I’ll explain in the tips for making fudge section and the recipe), using a candy thermometer is pretty fool proof, and takes out the guesswork.
I love the Good Cook Classic Candy / Deep Fry Thermometer because it has C & F measurements, lists the candy stages right on the thermometer, has a handy clip to hang it on your pot, and is usually under $5.
You do also need a good heavy pot. While any heavy pot will do, I love the dutch ovens from Lodge. They are TOUGH, and clean up pretty easily too.
For stirring the fudge, I prefer using a silicone tipped spatula over a wooden spoon. This Le Creuset spatula has a spoon shape but a flexible flat edge, so it works really well at scraping the pot.
You can use any glass baking dish for you fudge. A metal brownie pan works too but may get too hot to touch if you need to move it. I like using a silicone baking pan because it cleans really well, and has flexible sides for getting those edge pieces out.
You can just use a table knife to cut your fudge. But if you do a lot of baking or dessert making, it’s worth investing in a scraper/chopper to make slicing bars a breeze. I got this scraper/chopper at a kitchen supply shop for around $5.
LINKS TO BUY HOMEMADE PECAN BOURBON FUDGE SUPPLIES
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TIPS FOR MAKING FUDGE AT HOME
If you’ve never made homemade fudge before, or you’ve tried and had a bad experience, it can seem a bit intimidating. I was definitely nervous my first time when I created this Homemade Pumpkin Fudge Recipe. But these tips, and a candy thermometer, will make homemade fudge surprisingly easy!
WHAT IS SOFT BALL STAGE FOR MAKING FUDGE?
The first key to perfect homemade fudge is to get the fudge syrup boiling to what’s called the soft ball stage. This is 237-239 degrees F. As soon as your thermometer hits that temperature, pull the pot off of the heat.
If you are in a pinch, without a candy thermometer, use a spoon to drop a little bit of the fudge syrup into a glass of ice water. If the fudge is ready, it should sink to the bottom in a ball shape. But if you pull it out, you should be able to easily flatten it. That’s why it’s a SOFT ball.
You can see photos of the softball test in my Easiest Chocolate Salted Caramels Recipe.
If the syrup dissolves, or turns into long threads, it needs to boil some more. If it forms a ball but is too hard to flatten easily, it boiled for too long. Better to start testing early, and test every few minutes.
HOW TO COOL AND BEAT THE FUDGE
Once you pull the fudge off the heat, you’re actually not going to want to stir it until it has cooled a bit. For the pecan bourbon fudge, you slowly stir in the bourbon, which cools things slightly. Then let it sit a little while until it hits about 110 degrees F.
Once that happens, you need to stir FAST! I use the same spatula for this, but it does take a good 5-10 minutes. You could also use an electric hand mixer to speed things up.
This beating at the right temperature is what leads to the creamy, smooth, “fudgy” texture. There’s a whole lot of science behind it that I’m not qualified to explain. But you can read more about the food chemistry of fudge here.
PECAN BOURBON FUDGE RECIPE VIDEO
Still feeling nervous? We made a quick video to show you just how easy this pecan bourbon fudge really is.
PIN TO SAVE PECAN BOURBON FUDGE FOR LATER:
This pecan bourbon fudge recipe is the perfect blend of sweet fudgy goodness and rich, oh so soothing, Kentucky bourbon. Perfect for your bourbon loving sweet tooth! Make sure you have a candy thermometer so you can confidently heat the fudge to the softball stage. Used with permission from Food.com.
In a heavy saucepan, mix sugar and cocoa until blended.
Add milk and mix well.
Add heat and slowly bring mixture to a boil. Allow mixture to boil up and dissolve sugar crystals on the sides of the pan.
Boil until candy reaches the soft ball stage (237-239 degrees F), stirring constantly.
If you don't have a thermometer, test for "soft ball stage" by dropping a little of the candy mixture in clean, ice cold water. If you can pull it out and roll it around with your fingers while it holds together, it's ready.
Remove from heat, and gently stir in bourbon.
Once the mixture is cooled to about 110 degrees F, beat the fudge with a spoon, stirring briskly until the candy starts to crust around the sides of the saucepan and the mixture thickens considerably.
Pour into a buttered 9x13 glass or silicone dish.
Allow to cool slightly then press pecans into the fudge in rows. Cut into pieces with one pecan on each piece.
Now try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!
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