The list of southern delicacies is long, but Kentucky Bourbon Balls easily make it to the top. Easy to make and almost too easy to enjoy, these chocolate spheres have a delicious kick of bourbon with a creamy center and a nutty pecan crunch. If you haven’t had them before, don’t delay any longer! There’s no reason not to make them – they take a little planning ahead but very little time to make and are truly a treat to snack on.
These little candies don’t take many ingredients at all but there is one trick to getting outstanding bourbon flavor and that is soaking the pecans. Once your pecans are chopped, you simply soak them in a bit of bourbon for at least an hour and up to overnight. That’s the trickiest part of these – planning ahead enough for the nuts to soak in all that flavor!
Once the pecans are nice and boozy, you essentially fold them into a quick buttercream mixture that you then scoop out, chill, and dip in melted chocolate. There’s no vanilla or other extracts included – the flavor comes entirely from those bourbon soaked pecans which do give quite a kick, but tempered by the creamy center and chocolate coating, it’s nothing you can’t handle.
While these do taste boozy and are best kept out of reach of the kiddos, it’s a little over a quarter cup of bourbon spread out amongst thirty candies (and other ingredients) so it’s not going to do you any real damage. (Unless you consume the whole batch, that is.)
Kentucky Bourbon Balls
Yield 30 balls
5m prep time
10m cook time
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons bourbon
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- About 30 pecan halves
- In a small bowl, combine chopped pecans and bourbon. Cover and let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
- In a medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until combined.
- Add pecan/bourbon mixture and mix. If mixture is too loose, add more powdered sugar as needed.
- Using a small cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill until firm.
- Once chilled, melt chocolate chips and shortening in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.
- Using a toothpick, dip balls in chocolate mixture, shaking off excess, and place on baking sheet. Top each with a pecan and return to fridge to set. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Spicy Southern Kitchen.