This time of year brings to mind traveling to see family to share the holidays and the festive meals that come with the celebrations. One of my favorite treats to make during this
season came out of a trip to Kentucky a few years back, and it has fast become
a tradition in our holiday baking- Bourbon Balls.
Driving through the rolling hills of Marion County, this picturesque landscape of peaceful farms contained by their stacked
stone walls, interrupted by wooded thickets and the tracery of clear, cold
running streams. Along these roads lie
the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, where these historic, family run distilleries begin
to dot the landscape, their presence first hinted at by the distinctive, tall
rick houses that store the barrels.
While this recipe is an amalgam of some new- from the distilleries, and some old - from my grandmother, it has become a family
Ingredients - makes approximately four dozen
One box of vanilla wafers, crushed to a fine grain crumbs
Two cups of pecan halves
1/2 cup of heavy cream, plus two tablespoons
Four tablespoons of Karo syrup
Two tablespoons of honey
Nine to twelve ounces of shaved chocolate, half bittersweet, half
One teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of sugar
Four tablespoons of your favorite bourbon, or add more to taste!!
First- take the pecan halves and then spread half of them on a
baking tray and then toast for ten minutes or until fragrant. Pulling them from the oven and getting that
first whiff of the roasted pecans is the delicious reward for this first step.
Next finely chop the roasted pecans, then take half and mix with
the vanilla wafer crumbs. Set aside.
Now take a saucepan, mix the cream, syrup and honey, bringing to
a boil. Pour this mix over the shaved chocolate in a separate bowl. Allow to
sit briefly, and then stir until it is a deep, rich chocolate. Add this mixture to the cookie crumbs and
pecans, along with the bourbon and mix throughly. Once complete, chill for at
least one hour in refrigerator.
While this is chilling, mix the remaining portion of the pecans,
the sugar and the vanilla in a bowl and set aside.
Roll teaspoon size scoops of the chocolate dough into small balls
and then roll them through the pecan-sugar mix to cover each ball.
Final step - share with family and friends and enjoy!
Happy New Year!