Louisvillian Jennifer Ahearn's friend Kat makes bourbon balls without the commonly used corn syrup Ahearn finds "cloying." She and Kat use a healthy dose of bourbon; adjust for taste. Use broken pecan halves for the mash and save the unbroken ones for decorating the tops of the balls.
This recipe should be started at least the night before you plan to serve what Ahearn calls "Kentucky truffles" -- earlier if you want them stronger. The pecan mash needs 24 hours to let the bourbon soak in. The longer the finished bourbon balls sit, the stronger they taste.
Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 week.
Servings: 36 - 48
Yield: Makes 1-inch balls
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 7 tablespoons bourbon
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
Place about 1 cup of the pecans in a food processor and pulse until they form a rough paste. The mash should be smoother than chopped pecans and coarser than peanut butter. Add the bourbon and stir until blended.
Spread the mixture on a flat nonreactive surface, such as a glass or plastic pan, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (That way the mash soaks evenly.) Cover the mixture with plastic wrap to prevent the bourbon from evaporating and let it sit for at least 24 hours. (It does not need to be refrigerated, but refrigeration won't hurt the mixture.)
In a medium mixing bowl on medium speed, beat the butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the pecan mash and the sugar; blend well. If the mixture is too wet to roll into balls, add confectioners' sugar as needed (no more than 8 ounces) to achieve the right consistency. If the mixture is still too damp, chill it for a couple of hours before rolling. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours (overnight).
Meanwhile, lightly toast the remaining cup of pecan halves in a toaster oven or large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. They should be dark but not burned; discard any charred ones.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler until it is smooth. Let it cool slightly. Dip the balls in the chocolate to coat thoroughly. Before the chocolate begins to harden, place a toasted pecan on top of the coated bourbon ball. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens.
Adapted by Jennifer Ahearn.
Tested by Bonny Wolf.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.