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Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe ~ Kentucky Derby Museum Cookbook

Bourbon balls are a great treat to make for holiday parties, give as homemade gifts or to celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month this September. With the exception of the bourbon, making these Kentucky bourbon balls won’t break the bank but will take some prep & time. See below for the recipe, photos & Kentucky Bourbon Ball makin’ tips!

Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe

Ingredients needed:
1 stick of butter
1 box of powdered sugar (approximately 2 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans
4 tablespoons bourbon
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 ounces bitter chocolate

Makes 4 Dozen

Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe

Prepare filling one day ahead. Start by softening the butter in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Be very careful not to liquefy the butter. Once this is done, mix the butter & sugar into a large mixing bowl and mix by hand for several minutes. After the butter & cream are mixed well, throw in the chopped pecans & bourbon & mix all together. Feel free to add a splash more bourbon if you like.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe

Use a teaspoon as guide to create little balls on a waxed lined cookie sheet. Don’t forget to taste test before placing in the refrigerator overnight.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe

On the next day, melt both sets of chocolates in a double boiler. Using this heating method will provide a more consistent temperature & better tasting chocolate. During the chocolate dipping process, things will get a bit messy. To help, we suggest inserting a skewer into the chilled bourbon balls to dip into the hot, melted chocolate. Be careful not to burn yourself! Use a spoon to help drizzle the chocolate over hard to reach places on the bourbon ball. Place the finished treats on a new piece of wax paper in the refrigerator to harden. Serve at room temperature & enjoy!


For more bourbon flavor, soak the pecans in bowl of bourbon overnight before adding into the creamy butter & powder sugar mixture.

Before melting the chocolate in the double boiler, add paraffin wax to the chocolate mix. Paraffin wax is typically found at grocery stores & arrives in a box containing four rectangular wax bricks. Using a potato peeler, slice bits of the wax off into the pot with the chocolate. The wax keeps the chocolate shiny & will quicken the hardening process so chocolate won’t melt all over the place during the dipping process.

If the consistency is a tad on the liquidy side, pop the mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. A peanut-butter-like consistency will make the ball-rolling process much easier.

Add a little more pizzazz to your finished presentation by placing a whole pecan to the top of the bourbon ball just after it has been dipped in the melted chocolate.

Love this recipe but want more? Try out other delectable bourbon-inspired recipes from our NEW Kentucky Derby Museum Cookbook!

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One Response to Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe ~ Kentucky Derby Museum Cookbook

  1. sandra says:

    Wonderful part of Kentucky’s history.

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