I am generally not a big fan of Christmas and all of the fanfare around the force fed gift giving that goes along with it. I like the idea of slowing down to spend time with your loved ones but honestly that doesn’t really happen. We spend so much time focused on the buildup to the holiday that we are often too exhausted, bitter and flustered by the time the day comes. In my opinion, the very best part of the holiday season is sharing the fattening foods and the festive libations with those near and dear. Serve me a plate of fluffy mashers and gravy, a couple of warm homemade dinner rolls, followed by a giant slice of seasonal homemade pie and I will melt like butter. Cooking up a hearty meal or baking up a treasured family cookie recipe is really what it’s all about.
Ok, Enough of my holiday soapbox. In order to cope with the stress of the season, I have come up with a way we can all feel merry and bright. I will be getting in the holiday spirit by sharing some “spirited” recipes. It will be snowing sugar and raining booze in my kitchen from now until the new year. I hope you will all join me in celebrating the spirits of the season, bourbon, rum, and so on.
- halved pecans - 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup
- bourbon - 6 tablespoons
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- powdered sugar - 1 (16 ounce package, about 3 cups)
- dark chocolate chips - 1 bag (10 oz)
- ground cinnamon - 1 tablespoon
- ground nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon
- ground cloves - 1/4 teaspoon
- Start by toasting the pecans at 350° for about 8-10 minutes until they give off a nutty aroma. Set aside 1/2 cup of pecan halves for later.
- Coarsely chop the remaining 1 cup of the pecans and place them in a sealable bowl or jar. Pour the bourbon over the pecans and stir to make sure they are fully saturated. Seal the bowl or jar and soak overnight.
- Blend the spices in with the powdered sugar.
- Mix the butter and spiced powdered sugar together until smooth and creamy.
- Fold in the bourbon soaked pecans.If the mix seems too dry, add a scant amount some of the bourbon to the mix until creamy. If it seems too sticky and wet, slowly add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Chill the mixture for 15 minutes so that it hardens up a big. This will make the filling easier to manipulate into balls. Using a cookie scoop, form the filling into 3/4" balls and refrigerate overnight or freeze for at least 1 hour.
- Line a baking tray with parchment or a silpat mat. Melt the chips in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir and scrape the sides often to avoid scorching.
- Once the chocolate is smooth and melted, quickly roll the balls in the melted chocolate, one at a time. You must move quickly because they will start to melt in the hot chocolate. I use a slotted spoon to lift the balls out of the chocolate and place them on the lined baking sheet.
- While the chocolate is still warm, add a toasted pecan to the top of each ball. Allow the chocolate to harden and serve right away or store in the refrigerator until serving.
- These obviously pair well with any bourbon based libation.