On our recent trip to Kentucky I discovered the perfect candy - Bourbon Balls. A uniquely Kentucky confection, bourbon balls are an amazing mix of a velvety smooth confection and bourbon, always (at least commercially) coated in chocolate, and often served with a pecan half on top.
While at the Woodford Reserve distillery I found a great twist on the bourbon ball, Mint Julep Bourbon Balls. Taking the traditional bourbon ball and adding mint to mimic the taste of a mint julep works amazingly well, and makes a great candy even better.
Recipes for bourbon balls date back to the early days of bourbon in Kentucky, and many family recipes pass down through generations, each slightly different than the next. Woodford Reserve's bourbon balls are made by Ruth Hunt Candies, a family owned business dating back to 1921.
Bourbon Balls are traditionally made by soaking finely chopped nuts in bourbon overnight, the mixing the nuts with sugar and butter to make a delicious candy. Here is a very traditional recipe:
Kentucky Bourbon Balls
ACTIVE TIME20 mins
TOTAL TIME30 mins
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- 5 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 (16 ounce) package confectioners' sugar
- 18 ounces semisweet chocolate
- Place the nuts in a sealable jar. Pour the bourbon over the nuts. Seal and allow to soak overnight.
- Mix the butter and sugar; fold in the soaked nuts. Form into 3/4" balls and refrigerate overnight.
- Line a tray with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just-barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Roll the balls in the melted chocolate to coat; arrange on the prepared tray. Store in refrigerator until serving.