December 04, 2014
These delicious gems are so simple to make, and oh so delicious, you will serve them year round. The holidays are upon us, and it is a busy time of year – so we all need something quick and easy to prepare…and these balls make the perfect Christmas gift for friends, neighbors, and teachers. Think how quick your mail will be delivered when you hand a box of homemade bourbon balls to your mail carrier.
If you are looking for a sweet treat to serve at parties, or to give as a really fun unique hand-made gift, try these nuggets of culinary bliss. We served 300 of them at a party last night, and they were gone in a flash with rave reviews. And the best thing – they are a snap to make.
- 2 sticks soft Land O Lakes butter
- 2 pounds sifted 10X powdered sugar – that’s 2 boxes – sifted after you measure
- 1/3 cup Makers Mark (or your favorite bourbon)
- 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or Grand Marnier, or 1 teaspoon of instant espresso – depending on the flavor profile you would like to create
On a sheet pan, toast pecans in a pre-heated 350 degree for approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely, and chop – leaving enough whole pecans if you choose to put them on top of the finished balls.
In a mixing bowl, add the soft butter (not melted), sifted powdered sugar, and mix on medium high speed until well blended. Do not over mix – you are not whipping here, just blending. Add Makers Mark and pecans and combine.
Let chill for at least an hour.
With a small mini ice cream scoop (they have them at most grocery stores), scoop out and roll into balls. Be careful not to over-roll for you do not want to melt the butter with your warm hands. Put the balls side by side (not touching) on a sheet pan and let cool 30 minutes in the freezer until firm.
STEP FOUR – GANACHE
Once the bourbon balls are chilled, put the chocolate chips and cream in a double boiler. Note: If you don’t have a double boiler, don’t fret, for you can put water in a small pot, to fit a glass or metal bowl on top so as not to touch the water. Once the water begins to boil, turn off the heat and place the bowl of chips and cream over the water filled pot, begin to stir until nice an smooth. If necessary, feel free to turn the heat back on until the chocolate is totally smooth.
You do not want to cook or over-heat the chocolate…all you are doing is melting the chocolate and cream to make a wonderful ganache consistency.
This same ganache can be used to top a Boston cream pie, peanut butter mousse pie, or anything you may want to adorn with this wonderful chocolate ganache.
Put the chilled balls on a rimmed sheet pan lined with a wire rack, and spoon the ganache over the balls until covered. The extra chocolate will fall through the wire rack to the sheet pan. This is enough ganache to cover about 60 to 80 balls.
Once the balls are covered in ganache, chill for about a half hour until the chocolate is firm. Gently place each ball in a mini cupcake holder. You can purchase white cupcake holders at most groceries (but they are a little big)…and nice smaller silver and gold wrappers can be found at most party stores like Party City.
Store at room temperature or chilled. Heat kills them.
There are lots of different ways to decorate these bourbon balls. Here are a few ways:
- Top with a toasted pecan half or even chopped toasted pecans – do this right after you cover the balls in ganache so they will stick
- Eliminate the ganache step altogether and roll in sifted powdered sugar or sifted cocoa powder – this give a completely different flavor
- Substitute white chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate – for a white chocolate covered bourbon ball
- If making a traditional semi-sweet chocolate covered ball, make an extra white chocolate ganache and place in a pastry bag using a fine tip and make decorative stripes as seen in picture
- If you are making white chocolate covered balls, make extra chocolate ganache and stripe with chocolate ganache
Get creative, and let me know what works for you. Enjoy.