These Kentucky bourbon balls are sweet and buttery no-bake confections that’ll have you coming back for more.
These sweet treats are a must-have for any bourbon lover!
Candy balls made of butter, sugar, and bourbon-soaked nuts. Sounds amazing, right?
Add a chocolate shell, and these truffle-like sweets are pretty hard to resist.
Each bite has the perfect balance of sweet, buttery, and boozy. All that and they’re a no-bake dessert?
Sign me up for a big batch of Kentucky bourbon balls.
Kentucky Bourbon Balls
Tired of your kids devouring every last morsel of dessert in your home? Try making Kentucky bourbon balls!
These chocolatey, truffle-like treats are spiked with Kentucky bourbon to add a sophisticated taste to your after-dinner treat.
Plus, because they’re boozy, you can’t share them with the kids.
You need to treat yourself too from time to time, you know!
While these confections look like a thousand bucks, they only require five simple ingredients.
- Chopped Nuts – Almonds, pecans, walnuts, choose your favorite! My only tip here is to roast the nuts beforehand to give them an even deeper flavor.
- Kentucky Bourbon – Pick a bourbon that’s smooth and drinkable, but not too expensive. Save the fancy ones for sipping! Brands like Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, and Bulleit make great options.
- Powdered Sugar – To sweeten the candy. You won’t be cooking or baking here, so you’ll have to use powdered sugar. It dissolves instantly, unlike granulated sugar.
- Butter – The smoothness and richness of butter make every confection taste better.
- Semi-sweet Chocolate – For coating the bourbon balls.
How to Make Bourbon Balls
If you’re tasked to make dessert for family and friends but can’t bake to save your life, this recipe is here to save the day!
Here’s how to make these easy, yet show-stopping confections.
1. Chop and soak the nuts in bourbon.
Tip: You can use a chopping knife and board for this step, but a food processor will make things a lot easier.
Once the nuts are chopped, transfer them to a sealable jar, and pour the bourbon in.
Let the nuts soak in the bourbon for 8 hours or overnight. This will allow the nuts to absorb the whiskey’s flavor, and vice versa.
2. Make the candy mixture.
Whisk together powdered sugar and softened butter until well combined. Add in the soaked nuts along with the bourbon.
Tip: If the mixture is too soft or sticky, pop it in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes, or until it becomes firm enough to shape.
3. Shape the dough into balls.
Using a small ice cream or cookie scoop, make 3/4-inch balls out of the dough.
Arrange the balls on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Tip: These balls taste better the next day, though, so it’s a good idea to leave the balls in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
4. Melt the chocolate.
Boil water in the bottom pot of a double boiler. Place the chocolate in the top pot.
Melt the chocolate over barely simmering water, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot.
Remove it from the heat as soon as the chocolate is smooth and melted.
Tip: if you don’t have a double boiler, just microwave the chocolate! Just be sure to set the microwave at medium power. Also, don’t heat up the chocolate for over 1 minute at a time.
5. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate.
For this step, I like to pour the melted chocolate into a glass and use a fork to dip the balls in.
Once dipped, shake the fork gently to remove excess chocolate from the ball.
Then, place the ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat the step until all balls are covered in chocolate.
6. Let the chocolate firm up and serve.
The chocolate should harden in just a few minutes, especially when it’s chilled in the fridge.
Once the chocolate shell has completely firmed up, serve your homemade Kentucky bourbon balls and enjoy!
Toppings and Variations
This recipe makes authentic Kentucky bourbon balls with a smooth chocolate shell and a creamy bourbon filling.
But if you feel like switching things up, there are so many ideas you can try!
Choose from these topping and variation suggestions and make your Kentucky bourbon balls your own.
Instead of coating the balls in melted chocolate, how about you roll them in toppings? It makes for a fun variety, and a much easier recipe, to boot.
- Coarse Sugar – Simple, white granulated sugar adds extra sweetness and a nice crunch to the balls.
- Cinnamon Sugar – If you’re a fan of the whiskey & cinnamon combination, this one’s a must-try.
- Chocolate Sprinkles – It’s fun and cute, and it’s more chocolate! You can’t go wrong. For a more colorful touch, try using rainbow sprinkles.
- Crushed Nuts – Whether it’s pecans, almonds, or walnuts, rolling the balls in crushed nuts will give them an extra layer of nuttiness and crunch.
- Cocoa Powder – If you find the balls too sweet, roll them in cocoa powder to dial the sweetness down a little.
- Shredded Coconut – Apart from the stunning presentation, shredded coconut also gives the smooth balls a nutty flavor and a nice textural variety.
The combination of butter, sugar, nuts, and bourbon already makes a fantastic flavor harmony.
But in case you’re looking for extra oomph, why not experiment with these variations?
- Use a different liquor. Coconut rum, brandy, gin, or tequila, pick your poison.
- Add lemon juice. Something tart to contrast the sweetness.
- Add crushed cookies. Some bourbon ball recipes call for mixing in crushed cookies to help thicken the dough. Graham crackers, Biscoff cookies, and chocolate and vanilla wafers are the perfect candidates for this addition.
- Add crushed gingersnaps. If you like to add a depth of flavor to your bourbon balls, go for gingersnaps! The zip from the ginger will balance out the richness and sweetness of the confections, giving you a well-balanced flavor.
- Make them nut-free. If you’re allergic to nuts, swap them out for the same amount of crushed cookies, such as chocolate or vanilla wafers and gingersnaps.
- Make them kid-friendly. Swap out the bourbon for apple or orange juice.
How to Store Bourbon Balls
Place the balls in truffle liners to keep the chocolate from melting into their container.
Then, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Storing bourbon balls in the fridge doesn’t only help extend their lifespan, but also enhances their flavor even more.
In fact, I highly suggest you make Kentucky bourbon balls a day before serving them. They’ll be even more flavorful that way.
Simply arrange the balls in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover it with parchment paper, and freeze for a few hours or until rock solid.
Then, transfer the balls into freezer-safe bags, squeeze out as much air as you can, and seal them.
Frozen Kentucky bourbon balls will keep well for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to serve them, set the balls out on the counter for a few minutes, or until soft enough to eat.
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