These butter pecan Bourbon Balls make a spectacular addition to your holiday goodies menu. They're insanely delicious whether they've been dipped in warm melted chocolate or rolled in powdered sugar.
Southern Bourbon Balls Recipe
Bourbon balls are a classic Southern holiday dessert. They come in several variations. Some recipes use a combination of chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, along with butter and powdered sugar for the filling. Some bourbon ball recipes call for walnuts in place of pecans, and some use vanilla wafer crumbs and cocoa powder in the filling. One thing they all have in common is, a decent amount of Kentucky Bourbon to give them a kick. It works like a charm.
These Bourbon Balls come with a Butter Pecan Twist
As with all of the recipes on this website, I developed this recipe highlighting the flavors we enjoy most. I use pecan shortbread crumbs for the base of the filling and have for many years. I choose to skip the cocoa powder often found in the filling of classic bourbon balls, so that the butter pecan flavor isn't masked. You'll note, I also prefer to dip them in melted chocolate, instead. To us, it's perfection and there's never a single bite left over.
Helpful Tips for Making Homemade Kentucky Bourbon Balls
- Bourbon, if it's in the title, it's an important ingredient. Use your favorite bourbon. I used Maker's Mark.
- Pecan Sandies or, a private label store brand, will work equally well for the cookie crumbs in these bourbon balls.
- Due to the amount of moisture in the filling from the bourbon and butter, it's necessary for the filling to chill and solidify before rolling into balls. Don't expect to be able to form into rounds immediately, allow ample time for chilling.
- I recommend separating into thirds. One third is rolled in powdered sugar, then the rest are dipped in chocolate. Sprinkle the tops of one third with toffee bits and remaining with a single pecan half. You can also roll a few in cocoa powder, or roll in additional chopped nuts, if that's your preference.
- It's important to make these 3-5 days prior to serving them to give the bourbon flavor time to mellow.
- These must be kept chilled or pop into the freezer, until just before dipping in chocolate or rolling in powdered sugar. Work in batches, keeping them chilled, or frozen, until you're ready finish them.
- Store in an airtight container chilled for up to 4 weeks.
For a non alcoholic option checkout my delicious recipe for Pecan Balls
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 1 ½ cups roughly chopped pecans (Plus 18-20 pecan halves for garnishing) toasted
- 2 11.3 oz packages pecan shortbread cookies i.e. Pecan Sandies
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup Bourbon
- ½ cup salted butter melted
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate baking chips
- 1 Tbsp solid vegetable shortening
- ⅓ cup toffee bits (bits-o-brickle) for garnishing
- 1 cup powdered sugar for rolling
- Spread chopped pecans and pecan halves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a preheated 350°F for 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Crush pecan shortbread cookies using a food processor until fine crumbs. Add to a mixing bowl with chopped pecans and powdered sugar. Mix together.
- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together Bourbon, butter, corn syrup and vanilla until fully combined. Pour into crumbs and mix until fully moistened.
- Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 4 hours or overnight to set.
- To make: Roll into 1-inch bite size balls. (Similar to a meatball.) Place onto a parchment lined pan and keep chilled, or pop into the freezer, while working in batches to coat.
- To dip in chocolate: Melt chocolate with shortening in a double boiler over gently simmering water until smooth. Use two forks or a toothpick to dip the balls into chocolate to coat. Place onto a parchment lined tray. Immediately top one third with a single pecan half and sprinkle remaining with toffee bits. Chill until set.
- To roll in powdered sugar: Pour 1 cup powdered sugar into a shallow dish. Roll one third of bourbon balls in powdered sugar until coated on all sides.
- Store chilled in an airtight container for 3-5 days before serving.
- May be kept chilled in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
- Due to the amount of moisture in the filling, it's necessary for the filling to chill and solidify before rolling into balls. Don't expect to be able to form into rounds immediately, allow ample time for chilling.
- I recommend separating into thirds. One third is rolled in powdered sugar, then the rest are dipped in chocolate. Sprinkle the tops of one third with toffee bits and remaining with a single pecan half. You can also roll some in cocoa powder, if that's your preference.
- These must be kept chilled until just before dipping in chocolate or rolling in powdered sugar. If you're working in batches, keep them chilled until you're ready to work with them.