Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wild Turkey Balls

Turkey balls
My sister Brooke and her husband own the Atlantic Beach Peterbrooke. Though the store is tiny, it has a huge following. The store enjoys support from locals who often have special requests for custom pieces.
This past week, I was working in my sister’s store when she heard from a customer who had one of the most interesting and fun special requests ever. The customer’s daughter is getting married and the groom is from Kentucky. For wedding favors, they have decided to give each guest a chocolate seashell representing the beach and a bourbon ball representing Kentucky. The customer sent us a basic recipe along with some general information on bourbon balls or “Kentucky Colonels.” She asked if we could make some samples for the groom before they order. After all, Kentuckians are serious about their bourbon and balls.
The bourbon balls were made using all fresh, natural ingredients such as butter, confectioner’s sugar, chopped pecans, dark chocolate, and my favorite ingredient: Wild Turkey 101. We soaked the pecans in Wild Turkey overnight, allowing them to soak up the bourbon. The next morning, we thoroughly mixed the nuts, sugar and butter. The mixture went into the freezer to firm up. Due to the bourbon, the mixture never became completely firm. We then used a small scooper to make approximately ½ inch balls. We then dipped the balls into semi sweet dark chocolate. After coating in chocolate, some of the balls were left plain; some were coated in chopped pecans, while others received a half pecan decorating the top of the candy.
The result of our efforts was a flavorful chocolate piece that packed a serious punch. Eat a few of these and you will have more than a sugar buzz. When the groom came in to sample, he said they were the best bourbon balls he ever tasted. He decided to order the bourbon ball coated in chopped pecans.
Over the weekend, I decided to experiment with the recipe. The basic formula could be altered in a number of interesting ways by using other types of spirits, liquors, etc. In this case, I added more bourbon and used a bittersweet coating made by Barry Callebaut. I took the finished pieces to a party where they were a hit.

Turkey Ball Recipe:
12 oz. pecans
½ cup Wild Turkey
1 lb confectioners sugar
1 stick butter
Dark chocolate to coat
Day 1
Chop 8 oz of nuts and soak overnight in Wild Turkey.
Day 2
Mix together butter, confectioners sugar and soaked nuts. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Using a melon ball scoop out the mixture and form round balls. Place the balls on a sheet of waxed paper.
Dip in tempered chocolate & either place a whole nut on top or coat the entire ball in chopped nuts.
Presentation: Place all of the balls on a platter. The platter looks best when some balls have no nuts, some are entirely coated and some have only a single nut on the top.

Enjoy and do not serve to children!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Today I have been experimenting with caramel. My goal is to create 2 different kinds of caramels –one to cover in chocolate and the other a caramel chew. The caramel chew needs to be firmer then the chocolate dipped caramel. The firmness of caramel is largely determined by the temperature the batch is allowed to reach. For each recipe, I use all fresh, natural ingredients. Butter, heavy cream, and sugar were the basic components.
Generally speaking, caramels are variations of boiled sugar enriched with cream. As the solution cooks, the protein in the dairy reacts with the sugar, creating a rich golden brown color. Caramels often call for what is known as an “interfering agent” or syrup solution to prevent graining. Most call for corn syrup. Today I used honey from local bee keeper, Bee Pa on Lem Turner Road. The honey imparts a complex and interesting flavor. It is especially good when it is paired with sea salt.
I’ve had a lot of input from family and friends and none of them seem to agree on what they like the best. Some people like soft caramel, some like it very chewy. Some like sea salt, some like it with a hint of rum or espresso. It looks like I have a lot more caramel making and tasting to do. Please let me know about your favorite caramel so I can incorporate it into our Sweet Pete’s caramel.
I look forward to hearing from you…my son loves all the tasting, his teeth not so much.