A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Kings County Distillery wrote a post on their Facebook page asking if anyone would make them Kentucky Bourbon Balls. I had never made these before but I’ve been having lots of fun lately experimenting with using spirits in my baking. So I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a try. I offered to make the bourbon balls if they agreed to give me some their whiskey. And they took me up on my offer!
Before I got started, I had to do some research because I have never tasted a bourbon ball before, so had no idea what these things were. I researched online and it seems like these are a mix between a candy, a truffle and a cookie and they sounded like a super decadent treat. So here’s my try at making a Southern classic!First thing you should know is that this is actually a very simple recipe, but it is time-consuming because you need to make the bourbon balls in stages over 3 days.
Day 1: Take a cup of pecans and chop them very fine. For a super quick method, you can put the nuts in a sealable plastic bag and pound the nuts until they are in very small pieces. Place the nuts in a sealable container and pour the bourbon whiskey over the nuts. Seal and let the nuts soak overnight. You can use any good bourbon whiskey. I had just bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey, so decided to test that out since it’s from Kentucky.
Day 2: Mix the butter (make sure it’s very soft) and sugar in a bowl with your fingers. Combine together so the butter melts into the sugar. Then add in the soaked nuts. Mix together using your hands to form the mixture into a dough. Once you have a dough, form the balls and refrigerate overnight (you can make the balls as big or small as you’d like).
Day 3: Line a tray with waxed paper (so the chocolate doesn’t stick to the tray) and set aside. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until melted. Most recipes I found used semi-sweet chocolate, but I felt that these bourbon balls were so rich and sweet, that dark chocolate would work better. Plus I like dark chocolate better, so that’s what I’m gonna do.
Roll each ball into the melted chocolate to coat and arrange on the lined tray. You can use candy forks that are meant for dipping into chocolate, but I used chopsticks. I find that I have more control this way and I cook with chopsticks all the time. After dipping each ball, place a whole pecan on the top, makes for a pretty presentation. Once you’ve rolled all the balls, store in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set.
I like to keep the bourbon balls in the refrigerator until right before I’m ready to serve, so the chocolate doesn’t melt. Here are my finished Kentucky bourbon balls! They’re sweet, a little nutty, with a bit of whiskey flavor.
The next day I arranged a hand-off with Colin from Kings County Distillery. We met in the lobby of my office building, I felt like I was on some covert secret mission. We met and did our exchange, he got the bourbon balls and I got two beautiful bottles of their whiskey.
I think I made out pretty good with this trade! I may need to do some more experimenting with the whiskey he gave me (unless I drink it all first). Wonder if anyone else may want to trade spirits for my baking?