Believe it or not, I learned most about stereotypes long before I moved to New Jersey (surprising, I know!).
As a native Ohioan, or more suitably I should say Cincinnatian, we have a serious love-hate relationship with Kentucky. Depending on the situation, we will either turn up our nose and clearly make known, with all of our stereotypical glory, that the Ohio River creates a solid state line separating modern civilization with that other state. Followed by some type of joke about cousins marrying cousins.
And then in other cases we’ll proudly proclaim that it is our sister state, our comrade, our next door neighbor that produces arugably the world’s best whiskey, hosts infamous horse races, and is home to the cowboy hat wearing, gun-slinging Mr. Raylan Givens (for all you Justified fans).
In this case I think it goes without saying that Kentucky would be our friend. Our close friend. Dear friend. Our great Makers Mark-producing, Knob Creek-making, cousin kissing friend!
In honor of the Kentucky Derby coming up I wanted to share these, but they are a really delicious treat for any type of party. Make them ahead of time and store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks, sometimes I add coconut, sometimes I dip them in an extra layer of chocolate, and sometimes I just nibble on them with a glass of red wine. Truly an easy and succulent treat.
Kentucky Bourbon Balls
Adapted from Williams Sonoma Cookies Cookbook
Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies
- 1 box Vanilla Wafers, crushed
- 6 oz dark, or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup Kentucky Bourbon (or can substitute other bourbon)
- 2 cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
- pinch of salt
Begin by crushing the vanilla wafers in a food processor (or by placing them in a large plastic bag and crushing them with the back of a spatula or rolling pin).
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave for 30 minute increments, stirring in between. Remove the chocolate from the heat and add brown sugar, corn syrup, bourbon and salt. Next, stir in the vanilla wafers and half of the pecans.
Measure out 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the remaining half of pecans. Refrigerate the cookies for at least one day prior to serving to allow flavors to merge.