Bourbon balls are a Christmastime confection inspired by Southern flavors. They make a great addition to any cookie and candy tray during the holidays.
They were created by schoolteacher and candy maker Ruth Hanly Booe in 1938. She was inspired by the sage words of a visiting dignitary: “the two best tastes in the world are a sip of Kentucky bourbon” paired with Booe’s chocolate.
The creamy pecan filling is spiked with whiskey before being draped in smooth chocolate. The balls are then crowned by a pecan half, which not only looks great but lets people know what they’re about to enjoy. They’re a guaranteed hit at any party.
Here’s our favorite bourbon ball recipe. Soaking the pecan pieces overnight allows those flavors to meld. It also creates an overall softer consistency once the bourbon balls have set.
Makes approximately 30 pieces
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 5-6 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
- ½ cup softened butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons Crisco (or other shortening)
- ~30 toasted pecan halves, for decoration
- Soak the finely chopped pecan pieces in the bourbon at room temperature overnight (or for at least an hour).
- Gradually cream butter and powdered sugar together in an electric mixer. Slowly add the pecan-bourbon mixture.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out 1-inch balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set firm, about an hour.
- Once the balls are nearly set, start on the chocolate. Fill a saucepan with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place a slightly smaller heat-safe glass bowl over the saucepan and add chocolate chips and shortening. Gently stir the mixture with a spatula as the chocolate melts. Once completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat.
- Retrieve balls from the fridge. Using a toothpick, dip each ball in the chocolate to completely coat it, returning it to the baking sheet. Cover the toothpick hole with a pecan half.
- Once all balls are coated, return to the fridge to set completely before serving.
Will you be making these festive treats during the holiday season? Let us know what you think in the comments below or over on Facebook!