Bourbon Balls are a Kentucky tradition and this recipe comes from my mom's side of the family. There are several tricks to perfecting them, like having your butter at room temperature and soaking the chopped pecans overnight in bourbon. Letting the nuts soak overnight really packs a punch in the final candy, which are NOT for the faint of heart. I actually managed to get permission to serve these to my 12th grade english class for a grapes of wrath project and I was rewarded with some rather impressive faces at the first bite. I am pretty sure that I am still remembered by classmates for that incident…
I'd also recommend that you prep your cookie sheets before starting to mix these up. Once you get rolling your hands will get a bit gunky and you don't want to have to be constantly washing your hands to get more wax paper out. We use a small cookie scoop to get a larger ball, but I tend to enjoy them more when they are a little bit smaller and can eat it all in one bite. Also, do NOT skip the freezing/refrigeration step! You'll be tempted to, but if you skip this step you'll be left with chocolaty bourbon ball goo in your double boiler, tasty to be sure, but much better poured over ice cream instead of served on a tray of candy.
You also might have a bit of leftover chocolate, don't toss it out! You can toss some coconut or nuts in it and make haystacks, or dip pretzels in it!
In any case, enjoy responsibly~!
Makes about 5 dozen
1/4 Cup Butter (unsalted)
2 Pounds Confectioners Sugar
2/3 Cup of Bourbon
1 Cup Chopped Pecans, plus halves to top the balls with
12oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 sq inch of Paraffin (or until it looks right)
Chop a cup of pecans and soak overnight in bourbon (make sure that bourbon covers nuts completely.) Next Day, drain the chopped nuts and reserve the liquid. In one bowl cream the butter with one pound of confectioners sugar. In a separate bowl, mix nuts and one pound of confectioners sugar. Top off the bourbon that you saved from the nuts so that it makes 2/3 cup and add to the nut and sugar mixture. Mix the butter/sugar mixture into the bourbon/nut/sugar mixture. Roll tablespoons of this final mixture into small balls, place the balls on wax paper lined baking sheets and refrigerate or freeze for at least an hour. In a double boiler melt the chocolate and paraffin together, dip the balls into the chocolate, place them back onto the wax paper, and top with a pecan half. Let set and enjoy!