While living abroad, it can be nice to embrace aspects of your home culture and share it with others. I’m currently living in Thailand but on my last trip back to the U.S. I picked up a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon to bring and share with my peers here. Instead of just serving drinks, I decided to make and share a treat from the Bluegrass state: Bourbon Balls. And now, I’d like to share the recipe to spread the KY love.
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- About 25 pecan halves
- 2 shots (5-6 Tbsp) bourbon
- 1/2 cup butter
- 16 oz (450 g) confectioners’ sugar (called icing sugar in Thailand)
- 18 oz (500g) semisweet chocolate
1. Chop the pecans
Chop ’em up good. Remember to keep some halves so you can put them on top at the end. They can be pretty coarse, no need to make them too fine.
2. Toast the pecans
I heat them in a skillet until they release a strong, nutty, fragrance. I don’t know if this is necessary but it makes my kitchen smell good.
3. Soak the pecans
Now throw ’em in a jar and put the bourbon in there. I shook it up and let them sit overnight. Good time to pause and drink some of the bourbon.
4. Bury the pecans in a mountain of powdered sugar
Resist the urge to recreate the scene from Scarface. If you want a buzz, just drink more of the bourbon. You can’t really see the pecans in this picture, but they’re there, believe me.
5. Turn the sugar mountain into a butter volcano
Melt the butter and pour it over your concoction.
6. Smoosh the volcano
Look, we can see the pecans now. I told you they were there.
7.Roll your smooshed mix into balls
I recommend repeatedly squeezing and pressing the mix into a spherical shape instead of rolling them up like Play-Doh since the mix is more likely to either stick to your hands or fall apart that way. Once you’re done, throw these in the fridge to chill while you melt the chocolate.
8. Coat the balls in chocolate
Melt the chocolate, then coat the balls one at a time. Some tips for melting chocolate: cut the chocolate into small, uniform chunks before melting and constantly remove the chocolate from heat and stir. For coating I used a fork and spoon to roll them in the bowl of chocolate and let excess drip off before transferring them to the plate.
9. Throw pecans on top
Make ’em look fancy. It’s okay if they’re lumpy and a little ugly. It shows they were made with love. They’ll taste great.
10. Enjoy your favorite bourbon drink
Sipping bourbon throughout the process is essential. You can drink it straight or mix a cocktail. Can’t go wrong with an Old Fashioned.
Bonus recipe – Old Fashioned
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp water
- 3 dashes of aromatic bitters
- 1 shot of bourbon
- 1 orange peel
Put the sugar, water and bitters into your glass and stir until nearly dissolved. Plop some ice in and pour the bourbon over it. Stir it up a bit more. Twist the orange peel a bit to express its oil then drop it in the glass and enjoy!