These Boozy Kentucky Bourbon Balls are also fondly known as "Kentucky Kernels" for the generous amount of Kentucky bourbon used in the recipe. It's probably been about ten years now since I first tasted one of these decadent confections.
I can seriously only eat half of one of these before I feel a sugar rush. I don't eat sweets very often, so my body is like "WTF" when I do. My mother-in-law's friend, Ethel, brought them to Christmas dinner with my husband's family. Instead of her having to spend the holiday alone, she was invited to join us for Christmas. She was a hoot, y'all!
The Kentucky Bourbon Ball Secret Is In The Soak
She has since passed away, so every time I pull out her handwritten recipe for these boozy balls I think about Ethel. She told me that she would soak her nuts for weeks, so they'd be extra drunk for the recipe. I mean, who doesn't like drunk balls??!
These Kentucky bourbon balls are really easy, just give the nuts at least a couple of days to soak (or like Ethel said, a few weeks) and allow them to harden overnight in the fridge before dipping in chocolate. They need to be really cold to keep them from falling off the toothpick when you dip.
Speaking of bourbon, I've always wanted to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and sample bourbon from all the different distillers. The craft tour would be perfect for my husband. He's a bourbon connoisseur and has really helped to educate me on a great bourbon experience.
One of these days I'm going to surprise him with a trip. He would be so excited! If you have any planning tips on distillers to visit and places to stay along the trail, please do share! Feel free to tag me on Instagram @ameessavorydish!
If you love dipping balls, you should also try these Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Cake Balls.
Boozy Bourbon Balls "aka Kentucky Kernels"
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup bourbon it's about a cup, just enough to cover nuts
- 2 lbs confectioners sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- 20 oz bag bittersweet Ghirardelli premium baking chips (60 % cacao)
- Place chopped nuts in a mason jar or similiar sealed container and add just enough bourbon to completely cover nuts.
- Allow nuts several days to soak (you want all that goodness soaked in for the best flavor)
- Drain nuts, saving the bourbon.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until blended.
- Add nuts and just enough bourbon to get the best consistency for rolling into balls.
- Scoop out mixture with a tablespoon and roll into balls.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
- Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler until they are almost completely melted, but perfect for dipping (you want to temper the chocolate properly to avoid using that nasty paraffin wax)
- Dip balls into chocolate, covering all sides, using a skewer and place onto wax paper to cool.
- Store balls in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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Those look amazing!
Thanks Stacy! 🙂
Oh my, I bet these are very flavorful.
Extra boozy 🙂
Rose Anne Livingston
Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Amee. Ethel was a unique and very talented person.
Re-reading the recipe inspired me to get out the bourbon and start soaking the pecans!!
I'm glad you enjoyed the post! I loved Ethel, she was so funny!
My favorite sweet treat to makee is divinity. My Mom made the best, I aam not even close, but it reminds me off her so I continue making it.
I have had these drunken balls in various forms and they are so good!!!
These look amazing and bring back so many holiday memories! Thank you for not making them out of cookies!! True bourbon balls were confectioners sugar and butter; traditional! Pinned and sharing! #FoodieFriDIY
Michelle | A Dish of Daily Life
These look fabulous! I am excited to try them! Sharing on my Facebook page today and sending lots of foodie love your way as well! Crossing my fingers on the giveaway too, of course. 🙂
Welsh cakes are my favorite holiday treat to bake.
The holiday dessert that takes me back to my childhood are the chocolate-coconut-marshmallow-walnut kind of stainglass window cookies.
I love those, Amanda!
I love Christmas cookies. Simple, you can have a variety, love them.
I usually make a nice chocolate cheesecake.
Harolyn F. Jones
How far in advance can I make the bourbon balls. Entertaining a party of 200 and must make several days in advance.
They keep for a few weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator, so you should be fine. I hope they're a big hit!
have you ever considered making these into bars? I hate dipping things 😬...
Lol,I feel ya! It can be time consuming. The soft filling almost needs the hard coating, but if you try them as bars, just be sure and chill them prior to cutting and use a really sharp knife to slice. Let me know how they turn out!
YUMMY!!!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe! I’ve heard about your blog a couple of times and will now spend my afternoon reading 🙂
Hello! I was just wondering what the serving size for the nutritional information? Is it just one bourbon ball? 😊
Hi Kayla! Yes, that is for one ball. These babies are rich and indulgent, but definitely worth it. 😉
How long do you think walnuts soaked in bourbon would last in a sealed jar in the pantry?
Hi Peter! I don't usually soak them for more than a week, but should be fine for up to 10 days. I would do a minimum of 8 hours for a nice infused flavor.
Can these be packed and mailed?
I have done this before, but I would put them in an airtight container and pack them with dry ice. Depending on where you live or where you are shipping to, they could melt.
These look delicious! I can’t wait to make them. How finely should the nuts be chopped?
Hi Maggie! I hope that you enjoy them! You want to chop them into small pieces but not too fine or they won't hold up while soaking. Keep me posted if you make them! 🙂