Maker’s Mark Bourbon Balls

Yield: 48 bourbon balls

Bourbon balls are a Kentucky delicacy, invented here back in 1938 by Ruth Hanley Booe. If you’ve never had one, you’re in for a treat and don’t have to voyage to Kentucky to get some. Naturally, ours are made with Maker’s Mark® and feature a bourbon-infused pecan on top. Best of all, this recipe yields four dozen candies, so there’s plenty for you and plenty to gift to your soon-to-be-closer friends.

Prep time
4 hours 50 minutes, not including pecan soaking time
Cook time
10 minutes
Total time
5 hours

What to get

  • 2 tbsp. Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • 1 cup bourbon-soaked chopped pecans
  • 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar + 2 cups extra
  • 1/4 lb. unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. Hershey’s® All Natural unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 4 tbsp. grated paraffin
  • Whole pecans for topping each bourbon ball
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What to do

  1. DO AHEAD: Place pecans in a jar – add Maker’s Mark to cover 1 inch over pecans. Approx. 1-1/2 cups. Cover tightly with lid and let stand 7–10 days for pecans to absorb bourbon flavor.
  2. Drain bourbon-soaked pecans thoroughly and set aside. Discard the whisky. It will be bitter and unusable now.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter by using an electric mixer.
  4. Add 1 pound sugar and Maker’s Mark Bourbon alternately to the butter until blended.
  5. Gently stir in pecans.
  6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the mixture to stiffen.
  7. Place 2 cups sugar in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Remove mixture from refrigerator. Scoop tablespoon-sized portions from mixture. Drop into sugar and then roll 1-inch ball. Place on baking sheet.
  9. Refrigerate 2 hours.
  10. Melt chocolate and paraffin in a small double boiler or use a coffee mug in a pan of boiling water. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
  11. Using a long toothpick, dip each ball into the chocolate and place back on the baking sheet. Immediately top with a whole pecan and allow to cool.
  12. Serve at room temperature. Store in refrigerator covered for up to 2 weeks.
Notes from Chef Newman
Freezer easer
If your mixture is loose or difficult to work with, try placing it in the freezer for a few minutes. This should help stiffen it up a little bit.
Wax on
Paraffin might seem like a strange ingredient, but the flavorless wax adds a nice shiny finish to the confection once it has hardened. It also prevents the chocolate from melting at room temperature.
Not for kiddos
Since bourbon balls are not cooked in any way, the Maker’s Mark in them is fully active. Difficult as it may be, don’t eat too many and do keep these out of the reach of children.