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Kentucky Bourbon Balls TSLC - Copy - CopyKentucky bourbon balls are delicious.  Of course, everyone knows Kentucky is known for its bourbon and I always use one from here in my state to make my bourbon balls.  These smooth chocolate confections are so good and addictive! They also make wonderful gifts for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or just anytime!

Kentucky bourbon balls ingredients:

1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, not margarine, softened(I use organic)
 2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pecans, finely ground
4 tablespoons 100 proof Kentucky bourbon (can use more or less and could use another kind of bourbon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
pecan halves for garnish
Cream butter and sugar.  Add pecans, bourbon and vanilla extract mixing well with mixer.  Chill this mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove from freezer and make into balls using about a teaspoon of mixture for each one.  Place on wax paper on cookie sheet and put back in freezer for 30 more minutes.  When 30 minutes are up, melt the chocolate chips about 2 minutes in the microwave. (The smaller the container or bowl you use to melt the chips the easier it is to dip the bourbon balls in the chocolate).  Some people use a toothpick to hold the bourbon balls. It is easier for me to just drop them in the chocolate and use a wooden spoon to cover. Remove each bourbon ball and place on a clean piece of wax paper on cookie sheet. Add a pecan half on top.  Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes until chocolate hardens.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes about 30 bourbon balls depending on the size you make them. Enjoy!
Kentucky Bourbon Balls - TSCL                                   Kentucky Bourbon Balls - TSLC3Kentucky Bourbon Balls - TSLC4Kentucky Bourbon Balls - TSLC - Copy
 If you like this recipe, you might also like my recipe for Rocky Road Bars.
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  1. Pingback: Derby Day Roundup - Julias Simply Southern

  2. Thanks for the recipe. I am originally from Louisville. My daughter and I stopped at Rebecca Ruth and got a bag of Bourbon Balls, took them to my 81yo Mom’s house and quickly watched them being devoured. Needless to say, I know what my Mom is getting for Christmas!

  3. These are a Kentucky tradition because 90% of the bourbon is made in Kentucky; ee don’t use anything but bourbon in this candy. If you use another liquor or liqueur, don’t call them bourbon balls; that’s heresy in Kentucky.

  4. Could you tell me how you melt chocolate chips in the microwave – am having trouble with that. Thank you so much!

    • The Southern Lady says:

      I just put them in a small glass bowl and melt on high for one or two minutes removing after one minute and stirring. As soon as they are smooth you can start dipping your bourbon balls into the chocolate. You can add a tablespoon shortening to the chips if you want a more smooth, glossy finish but it has to be shortening not butter.

  5. I made these and the hubster loves them! Super easy just not crazy about the semi-sweet chocolate. Thanks

  6. Just saw this recipe in the article you posted about being featured in this month’s issue of a Taste of Home. Congratulations!! I can’t wait to read it!

    I also have a story to share about bourbon balls. I’m from Georgia and we always make these as part of my family’s traditional Christmas cookie platters. So when my daughter wanted to take Christmas goodies as gifts for her teachers and friends, we baked up a storm and filled little bags for everyone. It never occurred to me that bourbon balls might not be appropriate treats for middle schoolers. So the girls couldn’t wait until after school to eat their cookies and came into class smelling of bourbon! Fortunately, after going to the principal’s office (and offering her a gift of homemade cookies, including bourbon balls) all was forgiven.

  7. Paula Spedden says:

    I am planning an at home Kentucky Derby party. I want to serve these bourbon balls, and would like to make in advance. Can I freeze them? If so, would you recommend how to freeze to prevent chocolate from turning to “that” white-like color?

  8. Not sure what I did wrong. The center didn’t firm up, I reviewed the recipe and use all the correct measurements. The constancy was good until I added all the bourbon.

    • kentuckykaren says:

      My mother in law made these for years but never put the bourbon in the candy. She would soak a small clean rag in the bourbon and put it inside a sealed container with the candy. The candy absorbed the flavor, but stayed firm.

  9. Oh my goodness! This recipe for Bourbon Balls is a keeper! Tried today and I can’t stop saying “ummm”. Thank you Southern Lady for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  10. Shelly Lehtola-Johnson says:

    My husband is allergic to nuts. Is there anyway to make these nut free?

  11. These sound delicious…I think I might try them with Red Stag by Jim Beam. I think they would be good with the Black Cherry flavor. Mmmmm. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  12. Carolina Sorg says:

    This are so good. Taste like the Rebecca Ruth candy that they have in Ky. Wish we could get them else where, besides Ky. They are so good!

  13. It calls for semi-sweet chocolate but it looks like dark chocolate. Can you use dark chocolate and still have it taste good?

  14. My friends and family like a strong bourbon flavor. How much more could I use than 4 tablespoons for this recipe?

  15. How do I get “finely ground pecans” and can you get drunk off these if you eat to many?

    • The Southern Lady says:

      You can put them in a plastic bag and crush them with the rolling pin. I do mine in the coffee grinder. I don’t think you could get drunk off that little bit of bourbon.

      • I think you could get quite a reaction to the alcohol in these tasty little bourbon balls, and they could be very addictive!! But you will be very happy while enjoying these LOL,

    • Yes, you can get drunk on the balls, I made them for work and lets just say the afternoon flew by –

  16. Could I use Cherry Rum instead of the Kentucky Bourbon? Think it would give them a completely different taste. Cherry flavored chocolate balls…yes??

  17. Could I use ground almonds instead of pecans?

  18. Could I use Irish whiskey?

  19. Valerie Dieling says:

    I have a bottle of Buffalo Trace with that work?

  20. You click on the name of the recipe at the top, then look at the bottom of that page and you will see where it says: “print/pdf”. Click on that and you can remove the picture and any text you don’t want and print.

  21. Yes, you can taste the bourbon. They are not cooked so it is like giving them alcohol I guess.

  22. I have a daughter with nut allergies. While I could leave off the pecan garnish, what would I use in place of the ground pecans? Thanks.

    • I guess you could try leaving them out. You could try coconut.

      • I believe you can use vanilla wafer in place of the nuts. They would still absorb liquid but not change the overall taste. I developed a severe nut allergy after having eaten them for years and had to find ways to adjust some favorite recipes.

  23. What could you use instead of the boubon? I know bourbon is their name, but I would like to substitue it. Thanks

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