Kentucky Bourbon Balls

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Photo Credit: Christin Marhling, 2018.

These boozy bite-sized treats—were developed in 1936 by Ruth Booe, co-founder of the Rebecca Ruth Candy Co. in Frankfort, Kentucky—can be rolled in powdered sugar or dipped in melted chocolate and topped with pecan halves; on the inside, the creamy center usually consists of some combination of bourbon, sugar, butter, chopped pecans, and semisweet chocolate. These trifles are chilled rather than cooked and do pack a tipsy punch, so you may wish to warn younger or teetotalling guests of their alcohol contents.

 

Makes 24

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped pecans nuts
5 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
1/2 cup butter, softened
One 16-ounce  package confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions:
Place the nuts in a resealable jar. Pour the bourbon over the nuts. Cover and allow the nuts to soak overnight.

The following day, mix the butter and sugar; fold in the soaked nuts. Form into 3/4″ balls and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and  refrigerate overnight.

The next day, line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just-barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Roll the balls in the melted chocolate to coat. Place a pecan half on top of each ball and  arrange them on the prepared tray. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli with Spiced Apples and Pecans

 Why not whet your guests’ appetites for this Thanksgiving Dinner with  this impressive sweet and savory starter!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 ounces whole pecans, shelled
1 Gala apple (See Cook’s Notes)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
One 9- ounce package Pumpkin and Sage  Ravioli (See Cook’s Notes)

Directions:
Prepare ravioli according to package directions. While ravioli boils, add the cinnamon, sugar, a chop the pecans, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Slice the apple in 4 quarters, and then slice the quarters into 1 inch slices. Toss the apples in the spiced sugar mix.

In a large skillet, melt the butter, add chopped pecans and apple, and sauté for 1 minute. When ravioli is ready, drain and arrange on the plate. Top the ravioli with pecan-apple mix, and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Any variety of apple can be substituted for  the Gala apple.

Most grocery stores and large supermarkets carry various brands of fresh and frozen ravioli. If Pumpkin and Sage ravioli is not available in your area, a plain ricotta cheese ravioli can be used in this recipe as an alternative.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Almond-Crusted French Toast with Raspberries

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Challah is the bread of choice here because it really absorbs the custard, creating an eggy, sweet version of French toast similar to the pain perdu of New Orleans. Crunchy almonds, fresh raspberries and fragrant orange zest bring this classic breakfast dish to a whole new level.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
2 Tablespoons sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
3/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 thick slices challah or other egg bread, preferably day-old
Canola oil or clarified butter for cooking
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup  fresh raspberries
Pure maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, sugar, orange zest, almond extract and vanilla. Add the bread to the egg mixture and turn gently to coat evenly. Let stand until the bread has soaked up some of the egg mixture, about 1 minute.

Preheat a griddle over medium heat until hot; a few drops of water flicked onto the surface should skitter across it. Lightly oil the griddle. Spread the almonds on a plate. Remove the bread, 1 piece at a time, from the egg mixture, letting the excess liquid drip back into the bowl. Dip one side of the bread into the almonds, pressing gently to help the nuts adhere, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Place the bread slices, almond side down, on the griddle and cook until the nuts begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the slices and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the slices, almond side down, to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the center of the bread is heated through but is still moist, about 10 minutes.

Serve the French toast hot, almond side up, topped with a handful of raspberries and drizzled with maple syrup.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor