Bourbon balls are one of my very favorite Kentucky traditions. They remind me of holidays with my family; my great-aunt Marie always made bourbon balls using the exact same recipe that I use to this day. I always think of bourbon balls as a Christmas treat, or something to savor at the end of a bourbon distillery tour. I only recently learned that a lot of people make bourbon balls as a Derby treat as well. This morning, I picked up a bourbon ball donut from Thorntons' new #ThorntonsBourbonKitchen line, and it was fabulous!
If you're in the mood for a bourbon ball, my recipe is below, or you can just pick up one of those donuts at Thortons for 99 cents. It's the same flavor with a lot less effort! And let me know -- do y'all think of bourbon balls as a Derby time treat?
- 1 to 2 cups good bourbon whiskey
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 to 1 cup whole pecan halves (optional)
- 1 two-pound bag of powdered sugar
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 bags Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips
- paraffin wax
- Place 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped pecans in shallow bowl. Pour bourbon over nuts, immersing completely. Cover and let soak 12 hours to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecan halves in shallow pan and toast lightly for about ten minutes.
- Cream butter in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Combine bourbon-pecan mixture with powdered sugar to form a stiff ball. Refrigerate to let stiffen slightly.
- Roll dough into small balls.
- In double-boiler (or a sauce pan placed over a cooker full of boiling water), add a third to a half a bag of semisweet chocolate chips and a small shaving of paraffin wax (no more than 1/4 cup). Heat until just smooth. Dip dough balls into the chocolate mixture. The key is to coat them quickly and make small, frequent batches of melted chocolate.
- Place bourbon balls on wax paper to cool. Top each with a toasted pecan half, if desired. Results are better if you leave them to cool at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator.
Yields between six and seven dozen bourbon balls.