It wouldn’t be The Kentucky Derby without some bourbon! These chocolate-coated Derby Week Bourbon Balls are the perfect snack to pop in your mouth while you are cheering on your favorite horse and jockey!
Today kicks off Derby Week around the world. Or maybe just in Kentucky and the South! Either way, it’s a week of horses, Mint Juleps, Bourbon, and funky hats. Brooks and I had the pleasure of going to the Kentucky Derby in 2013 and it was such an amazing experience. All the pomp and circumstance that goes into the Kentucky Derby in the days leading up to the big race is mind-blowing. Parties, early races like the Oaks on Friday, and shopping for Derby memorabilia.
As you can tell by Brooks’ jacket, it rained this year. It didn’t rain all day so we had time to go hat-watching and celebrity spotting, but the rain also meant that we spent a lot of time at the bar. Sucking down Mint Juleps, Bourbon with bourbon floaters, and for me, The Oaks Lily!
The official drink of The Oaks race, The Oaks Lily is made up of Grey Goose Vodka, Cranberry juice, Triple Sec, and sour mix. I guzzled down quite a few of these that day! But even with these tasty concoctions, bourbon is the drink of the day, or week, or all year round for people in Kentucky. And our house.
Brooks’ grandmother has a great recipe for bourbon balls so I thought we could start off Derby Week with these drunken delights! They are just like my Buckeyes with Bourbon but a little different filling for the center.
Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, but it is quite expensive. I use Jim Beam for these but feel free to use any bourbon that you like. Some people prefer the cheaper versions of alcohol for cooking and baking. Brooks will kill me if I use one of his “nice” bottles that he collects.
The center of the bourbon balls is a simple mixture of powdered sugar, bourbon, butter, pecans, and a hint of lime juice. That’s Thelma Lou’s secret ingredient! This little bit of lime juice cuts through all the sugar and butter and evens the flavors out.
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After mixing the filling and scooping into tiny balls, feel free to make patty shapes or any other one, a quick dip in dark chocolate seals in all the goodness. There are quite a few recipes for bourbon or rum balls that don’t have a chocolate coating but I am certainly one for bucking tradition! What are you making this Derby Week and which horse will you be cheering for?
Bourbon balls are a quick and easy treat to put together, last for weeks, and make a great dessert for Derby week while you are slamming down Mint Juleps!
These boozy Derby Week Bourbon Balls are great for your Derby party or your holiday cookie exchange too!
For the bourbon ball filling
5 cups powdered sugar
1.5 sticks butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)
For the chocolate coating
8 ounces dark chocolate wafers/chips
Make the bourbon balls
Mix together the butter and sugar.
Add the pecans, lime juice, and bourbon.
Stir to combine.
Scoop or roll into 1 inch balls, or whatever size you choose.
Chill for 10 minutes.
Dip your bourbon balls
While balls are chillin’ melt your chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.
Roll your bourbon balls in the chocolate so all sides are coated.
Place on parchment paper and chill in the fridge until ready to eat!
*Depending on the humidity level or your environment, you may need to add more powdered sugar to get the mixture to hold together. Just add a little at a time (1/4 cup) until the mixture is easy to handle and just a little bit tacky.
*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!
Keywords: Bourbon, Pecan, Kentucky Derby, holiday cookies
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