Kentucky Bourbon Balls are a classic Southern treat made with buttery, bourbon-soaked pecans dipped in a rich chocolate coating.
Bourbon Balls are the perfect Homemade Candy to give as a gift, serve at a party, or just share with your family. If you like other boozy treats, like Rum Balls, then you’re sure to love this recipe!
KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS
Kentucky Bourbon Balls are a Southern delicacy with a rich chocolate and bourbon flavor. They were originally developed by Rebecca Ruth Candies and quickly became a staple, especially around the holidays. The pecan cream center is infused with Kentucky bourbon for a unique, smooth flavor that you won’t be able to get enough of!
Bourbon Balls are a delicious no-bake treat perfect for the holiday season! You can package them up to give as an edible gift along with other holiday favorites like Peppermint Bark and Chocolate Fudge. Just make sure whoever you send them to is aware that there’s alcohol in the Bourbon Bites. Because the recipe isn’t baked they will still be alcoholic when you eat them.
If you want to make candy pieces that are more family-friendly, you can just skip soaking the pecans in bourbon. You could also make two batches. One with alcohol and one without. Just make sure to label which batch is alcoholic carefully, so that everybody knows.
TIPS FOR MAKING BOURBON BALLS
- Prep time: The prep for this recipe is the most time-consuming part. It takes more than 2 days. However, it also takes very little effort. So, as long as you’re working ahead of time these candies are wonderfully easy to make. Start by adding the pecans and bourbon to a covered container. Set it somewhere out of the way to soak overnight. The next day, drain the pecans. They’ll be infused with the bourbon flavor. Add butter and powdered sugar to a mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients until they’re well combined, then stir in the prepared pecans. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight. The next day you’ll be ready to finish the recipe.
- Chocolate: To make the chocolate to coat, add the chocolate chips to a microwavable bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix the chocolate and then microwave for another 15 seconds. You may need to add another 30 seconds depending on the power of your microwave. Continue microwaving until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Shape: Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Take the pecan mixture from the fridge and roll them into 1 inch balls. Place them on the cookie sheet as you go. You can use a regular-sized cookie scoop to help you get consistent sizes.
- Dip: Dip each Bourbon Ball into the chocolate. Shake off any extra chocolate and then place them back on the baking sheet. While the chocolate is wet place a pecan half onto each candy. Put the Kentucky Bourbon Balls in the fridge to harden before you enjoy the homemade candies.
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VARIATIONS ON KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS
- Flavor additions: You can change up the original recipe by adding flavors to the butter and sugar mixture. Try mixing in a few drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, or a little maple syrup.
- Chocolate: Instead of semisweet chocolate chips, you can use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate for your Bourbon Balls.
- Crumb coating: You can use Nilla Wafers to make a crunchy crumb coating for your chocolate. Put 1-2 cups of Nilla Wafers in your food processor and pulse until they’re broken into small crumbs. After you dip the pecan mixture in chocolate and place them on the baking sheet, sprinkle the vanilla wafer crumbs over the top before the chocolate hardens.
- Toppings: You can add other toppings besides vanilla wafers. Coconut flakes, coarse sea salt, a caramel drizzle, or white chocolate would all make delicious additions.
- Rum Balls: Instead of Bourbon Balls, you can follow the same recipe using rum. Just soak the pecans in rum overnight instead of Kentucky Bourbon. Follow the rest of the recipe as normal.
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HOW TO STORE KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS
- Serve: Make sure to let the Bourbon Balls harden in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you serve them, or they’ll be too soft and melty.
- Store: After they’ve set, you can store the chocolates at room temperature or in the fridge. Put them in an airtight container to keep for 2-3 weeks.
- Freeze: You can also freeze Bourbon Balls for up to 6 months. Let the frozen balls defrost in the fridge before eating them.
- 1 cup pecans , chopped
- 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
- ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 24 pecan halves
- Add pecans and bourbon to a covered container overnight to soak.
- Drain the pecans.
- Beat butter and sugar until well combined, then add in the pecans and stir well.
- Refrigerate overnight in a covered container.
- Add the chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir and microwave for 15 seconds until smooth.
- If needed microwave an additional 30 seconds.
- Roll into 1 inch balls.
- Dip the pecan balls into the chocolate, tap off excess chocolate, and place back onto baking sheets.
- Place a pecan half on each ball (while chocolate is still wet) and leave to harden.
- Let candies fully harden for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before eating or storing in covered containers for holiday gifts.
The mixture kept falling apart when I rolled into balls.
You may have the pecans not chopped small enough, or there might be too many pecans in the mixture. It’s also possible that the mixture could have warmed up too much after removing it from the refrigerator. Hope you meet with more success if you try it again!
Is there a substitute for pecans? My daughter does not like pecans.
I have very much enjoyed your cookbook.
You can try Walnuts, but the flavor may change just a bit.