Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Living in Kentucky for two years, I learned quickly that there are three things Kentuckians love: bourbon, basketball and horse racing. I learned to love two of the three, but I never became an avid bourbon drinker. I do, however, love the bourbon ball candies. After one particular distillery tour, my friend and I circled back around at least three or four times in the line to sample bourbon balls. I am not a fan of the walnut or pecan that is typically placed on top of the bourbon balls, so I picked those off and my friend ate them for me, until she realized she had a mild nut allergy. Minor problem.

Now that I live in Chicago and can not easily acquire bourbon balls, I decided to look up a recipe and was a little surprised with how easy it looked to make these balls of deliciousness. Sure enough, it wasn’t quite that easy as I had some trouble with the dipping chocolate, but hey, whether they looked pretty or not didn’t detract from the taste.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print


  • 1 16-ounce package of powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (I really like to use Maker’s Mark, but pick your favorite)
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 tbs shortening
  • Bag of pecans (optional in my book)


  1. Mix powdered sugar, bourbon and butter thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least eight hours. I chilled my batch overnight, because I made these on a weeknight.
  2. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls. The butter-sugar-bourbon mixture will be a bit sticky, so I recommend using a plastic gloves or a Ziploc bag to form your bourbon balls. Now, here is what I would do differently next time. TIP: The original recipe I was working off of said to chill again for another eight hours. Instead of chilled for just half an hour while I melted the chocolate. I would suggest if you don’t want to wait another eight hours, pop the bourbon balls in the freezer while you make the melted chocolate.
  3. Melt chocolate and shortening in a small saucepan, and here comes another thing I would differently. TIP: Transfer the chocolate into a coffee cup. This will be shallow enough for a fork to reach but deep enough to dip the bourbon ball in without having to roll them in the chocolate. That is the best dipping technique if you can accomplish it. If you want to, place a pecan on top of the bourbon ball before the chocolate is completely cooled and set.
  4. Finally, chill the completed bourbon balls for another hour to make sure the chocolate sets into a hard shell. Then, it’s time to enjoy a taste of Kentucky!


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