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.