dessert,  party food + snacks

Bourbon + Pecan Sweets

Serving these at your Kentucky Derby party?  Don’t blink! They will be gone as quickly as the horses make their way around the track. Rich + buttery + sugary + crunchy + addictive. Next thing you know, half of these have mysteriously disappeared.

These sweets require very few ingredients, very little time, very little skill yet are indubitably delicious.They combine the best of both worlds: candy + bourbon. But fear not the spirits: when cooking bourbon, the alcohol evaporates, leaving you with the deliciously distinct bourbon flavor without the alcohol.  If alcohol is not your thing but you like the flavor of bourbon, you can use bourbon flavored vanilla. If bourbon is not your thing, substitute 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

My brother, who has a real sweet tooth, used to make a variation of these delights when he was 8. Mom said she was not going to be responsible for another visit to the dentist; if he wanted them, he had to make them himself.

And so he did.

I have made his childhood recipe a bit fancier by using pretty pecan halves instead of chips. I have also allowed these sweets to grow up by adding bourbon.

Bourbon is a good addition.

I recently chatted up a bourbon distributor who shared that Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s supply. In 2009 Kentucky had 8 distilleries; today it has 68. And…bourbon is America’s only native spirit, as declared by Congress in 1964.

The things you know.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Bourbon + Pecan Sweets and share it with friends. These pair beautifully with bubbles.


If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave comments below and tag your photos #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate together!

Bourbon + Pecan Sweets (56 pieces)

  • 14 graham cracker rectangles
  • 56 pecan halves
  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Break each graham cracker into 4 small rectangles and place them touching each other on the prepared baking sheet. Place a pecan on each graham cracker piece.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Add the salt. Stir constantly, bringing it to a full rolling boil. Stir in bourbon and remove from heat.
  4. Pour brown sugar mixture evenly over graham crackers. Straighten any pecans that may have moved when you poured the syrup. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Set the pan on a rack and let cool to room temperature.
  6. Use a pizza cutter to separate the crackers.  

Store these in an airtight container. They will keep for about a week–if they last that long!

If you enjoy these Bourbon + Pecan Sweets, you may also enjoy this Kentucky Derby Pie Brickle.

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