what a sad thought that two american family run institutions are sold to the highest bidder
I had hoped to post this over the holidays but things just got to busy and some how I just did find time to get this rewritten and ready for all of you.
While visiting the Makers Mark distillery we were all given one of the best candies that I have ever eaten. They looked like this and we each where give one at the end of our tour. I longed to send these to some of my friends as gifts and maybe keep some for myself but I just could not afford to. As wonderful as these are I thought with a little effort and time I could find a recipe that was close to the fantastic candy we had on our trips to Kentucky and make them at a price that I could afford to send them to friends and family all across the country and introduce more people to the world of cooking with bourbon.
I found a recipe at the following website www.herkentucky.com and started with it and tweaked it a little to make the recipe even easier to make.
The day before you want to make the balls you should soak one cup of chopped pecans in 1/2 cup bourbon over night covered in the refrigerator. This is what you will need to make about 40 walnut sized candies.
- 1/2 cup of good quality bourbon, I like Makers Mark
- 1 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup whole pecans
- 1 pounds of powered sugar
- 1 stick of real cream butter, softened
- 1 bag 16 oz. of dark chocolate chips …. I used Hershey’s Special Dark
- 1 half bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- Place 1 cup chopped pecans into food processor and chop fine.
- Place fine chopped nuts into a bowl with 1/2 cup bourbon and let soak over night.
- Cream butter in large bowl, adding bourbon soaked pecans. Combine pecan, butter mixture with powdered sugar to form a stiff batter.You may need to add up to 1/2 cup water to thin mixture. Stiff enough to form a nice ball. Refrigerate to let stiffen the mixture about 2 hours or the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Roll dough into walnut size balls.
- Place on wax paper on cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 30 minutes.
- While balls are chilling place about 1/2 bag of dark chips and 1/4 bag semi sweet chips into a microwave safe bowl. The smaller the bowl the easier it is to dip the and coat the balls. Heat chocolate for about 2 minutes stirring at about 1 minutes to insure that the chocolate melts evenly.
- Using two teaspoons drop one ball at a time into chocolate and cover, use other spoon help let the extra chocolate drip back into the bowl. place on clean wax paper to cool. Add more chocolate as needed and warm when the chocolate gets to thick to smoothly cover balls.
- Top with half of a pecan and let cool. We chose to use dark chocolate because the ones you get at the distillery are a pure dark chocolate but not a bitter chocolate.
We let the candy cool over night before eating and by then the chocolate had hardened and the flavors had time to meld together. They were excellent and we got about 40 balls from this recipe at about 8 dollars for everything but the bourbon. This was a savings of about 10 dollars a dozen. So I was able to share them with lots of family and friends. Enjoy!
I just can’t help the fact that I love where I live and the people around me. I take thousands of photos every year and some never make it to my blog and others are only uploaded on to Facebook and or sent to friends and family. So, I thought I would take a few hours and let you see what it is that make my world go around and share in some of the best and worst moments of my year. So hers goes… GOOD-BYE 2013 and hello to a fresh new year.
I started taking photos for a photo challenge this past year and it was fun to really push myself for ideas and places to photograph.. I did pretty well until they put my foot in a soft cast where the cold and wet and lack of being stable on my feet made me drop the challenge. This was one of the first locations that Christopher and I traveled to and explored in the very cold 18 degree weather in Jan of 2013. Jackson’s Mill is a State Owned property where they hold 4-h camps, state conferences and have saved historic buildings like this one, home of General Stone Wall Jackson. This large property and air field are only about 2 miles from my home and include a grist mill that I hope to write about in the future.
The for the month of February Christopher and I made a photo tour of one of our favorite places in Lewis County our historic Library.This is the location of our local book club that I help to start in the month of Feb. I love the old building and wish If I ever had the money to change the world this would be the place that I would put my money to work for my small community.
Christopher hamming it up with me when we found a not so used bathroom on the third floor.
Spring was slowly creeping into the mountain state in March and we were so happy to start to see life again that I started looking outside for more ideas and this is what I found.
One of the few days that was really beautiful in March with temps in the 40’s and warm enough to get started on the spring trimmings again. While Tom worked hard on getting these lovely animals ready to head back up the mountains Christopher and I wondered the country road near by to find things of interest.
April is always a mixed bag of events at our house Tom and Cody have birthdays at the end of March and the first of April so it is always a time of celebration. We try to adventure some where to shake off the dust and dirt from the long winter spent inside and this year was no different. We headed to Kentucky and had a ball at Makers Mark Distillery, the Kentucky Horse Park and Historic Bardstown, Ky. I hope to return to Bardstown it is one of the most beautiful and friendly towns I have ever visited and this is the “off-season” the Derby would still be a month away and the city is really alive then.
With spring in full force May is always focused on our gardens, yards, flowers and ramps. I did some blogging about the wild onions if you want to learn more about wild onions and how to use them. Our family loves to spend the day in the mountains with a picknick lunch and a bag full of ramps.
I also start to see the wonderful spring flowers appear and could not help myself for taking a few photos of them.
June 20th is our celebration of state hood here in the Mountain State. This year Tom and I spent the day working on customers horses.Were lucky enough that afternoon to find thousands and thousands of wild flowers in bloom along the long-deserted road between farms. My favorite is the wild roses that have a million tiny thorns and are in this hot pink color. The smell fills the air for miles and you just want to stop and enjoy the warm sun, the sweet smell and a long country road.
July found us Camping near Canaan Valley in the mountains of West Virginia. We found a remote camp ground where the water of the Potomac was warm and clear and the weekend was lazy and we found time to act silly and share family time.
August found us looking for wild mushrooms and boy to we hit the jack pot all summer and fall. I was over whelmed with the variety color and size of the mushroom we and our friends found. What a great way to spend a hot humid afternoon. Head for the cool shaded woods and come home to a feast of wild West Virginia mushrooms.
September started a new stage to our lives as Christopher started school. We said good-bye to my little guy and said hello to a student. We also said good-by to Christopher’s Step Grand father and shared in losing someone from Alzheimer’s and the destruction that it has put my family through.
The fall was creeping in and Oct is one of my favorite months if you can miss the rain that begins to fall. We found a beautiful weekend and took off to take photos in the northern part of the state and see an abandoned State Penitentiary in Moundsville. I found its structure breath-taking and it history ominous. It was one of the most interesting places I have had the opportunity to photograph in years.
The next two months are a total blur. Hunting season begins and the holidays add to the already busy time so it seems I must have forgotten to take any beautiful photos. But my family had a successful fall with many happy evenings telling hunting stories and me and the kids processing the meat for the long cold winter. I also am happy to report that my little book club has reached its 9th month of continuous reading and we are still going strong.
Then as I was just getting ready to decorate for the Holidays I finally gave into the pain that I was experiencing in my foot and came to find out that I had broken a bone in the bottom of my left foot . This is what Santa gave to me about the 13 th of Dec.
I am currently off work and feeling better. I hope to get things back to ” normal” what ever that is in a couple of weeks. This was also the best time for me to have this happen as work is slow and I could spend more time with my family over the holidays. I also learned to slow down and sit still a little better from this adventure and that was a lesson I found very hard at first but it is growing on me now. I plan more rest in the new year and learning about that not pushing my ageing body quite so hard.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERY ONE !
may I see and hear from all of you through out 2014.
The story of this bottle started almost 7 years ago in Lexington, Ky at the Kentucky Horse shoeing school over Fathers Day weekend. Although I am not much of a drinker I do like to have a little spirits around for cooking and celebrations. Tom on the other hand has been a whiskey and bourbon fan most of his life.So, while attending Farrier school in Lexington,Tom found out the locations of several of the local distilleries and asked us to join him on a tour while Cody and I visited.
From Lexington we traveled about an hour south to the small town of Loretto, Ky. Off in the middle of no where sits one of the worlds best Bourbon distilleries. It is hard to find but worth every effort to find it. Maker’s Mark is known as “Top Shelf Bourbon” meaning top of the line and its grounds and tours reflect this effort to produce the best of the best. It is one of the most beautiful historic places I have ever visited. Tom and I became ambassadors to the distillery on the visit and pledged to share our love of Mark’s Mark with the people we knew and talked to. Included in our ambassador package was the ability to put our names on a barrel ( on a Brass Plate) and fallow that barrel through the whole process of creation and finally 6 to 7 years later come back and pickup a bottle or two of the aged bourbon that was in that barrel. At the time it was just one of the many perks to the ambassador program but was so far off in the future that I never imagined us back at the distillery getting those bottles.
Well that all changed when Maker’s Mark sent us notification that our barrel had aged and been taste tested and was in the bottling process. They informed us that we could pick up our bottles for a few months this year, April-Sept and the remainder of the barrels would be bottled and sold with the regular bourbon.When I looked at the dates that the bottles were available, I was in shock and over joyed,April 1st 2013 was the frist day that the bottles were available and this is my oldest sons birthday.This date was also just days after Toms 49th birthday and ended with Easter too. Our trip plans incorporated all of these events and I was ready to head back to Kentucky and get my hands on bottle of bourbon that was waiting in a barrel all those years for me.
This time Cody and Jamie (my daughter-in-Law) were both of age so a family trip just seemed in order. We made our reservations and plans and headed to Bardstown,Ky for a long weekend. It turned out that if you like Whiskey, Bourbon or Scotch, Bardstown is the place to be. Bardstown is located in the middle of Bourbon country, near distilleries for Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Four Roses, Maker’s Mark and others. It was just 16 miles to our destination and we were able to see the towering aging sheds of many distilleries along the drive. Those 5 and 6 story sheds just appear out of fields all around the Bardstown area. At a sharp turn in the small country road you enter the Makers Mark property. Visitors arrive at the Gate House, Toll Gate and the beautiful Tobacco barn. All that appear to take you back in time to the early 1800’s. The grounds of Maker’s Mark are also on the National Register of Historic Places, including the “Quart House” the oldest liquor store in the US.
The Gate House handled security for the distillery in the 1800’s and now houses a nice little cafe the serves southern pulled pork BB-Q and slaw…. you will never see BB-Q with out slaw in the south. The food was great and a beautiful place to eat on a sunny afternoon. The tour then leads you from building to building showing visitors every step in the process from crushing the corn to the fermentation tanks to the beautiful and over sized copper stills… ( sadly that picture did not turn out). To the tasting rooms and finally the gift shop and dipping area. The grounds are open for photography and you are able to roam the grounds as long as you please.
The Cyprus tanks pictures above are 12 feet deep and several hundred years old and are still in use everyday. Maker’s Mark allows visitors to taste the ageing mash and it is remarkably sweet and reminds me of Sugar Corn Pops. The above photo is of the frist stage of fermentation where the yeast is bubbling away the sugars in the corn, wheat and barley. This part of the tour is my favorite and this time I got to see one of the tanks empty and was really surprised with what 300 gallons in a 12 foot tank really looks like.
Before Tom and I picked up our bottles we enjoyed the tour tasting and eventually dipped our bottles in the famous red wax that is a company trade mark. This was the highlight of the tour and they did not have the tasting room on our last visit. Here we got samples of the whole process. From 130 proof “WhiteDog”… or in other words …”Moonshine” that is not aged at all, just pure grain alcohol to regular Marker’s Mark bourbon 90 proof, then an over aged all most to flavorful whiskey that is not very palatable, to the best of the best Marker’s Mark 46 110 proof, a new and very tasty addition to the Maker’s Mark family.
The photos that fallow are of the bottling process and photos of us dipping our own bottles of Markers Mark.
This trip to Markers Mark was better than I had remembered it. The tasting room addition is great. When we originally visited Maker’s Mark the distillery was in a dry county… NO liquors allowed at public places. For over 100 years of their production no one could get a taste until they left the distillery grounds. The law recently changed and the free tasting added if you are over 21 with a current ID. The tour is a great historical look back and very educational for anyone wondering about this areas traditions of Bourbon, Whiskey and Moonshine making.
I hope that if any of you are in Kentucky, you stop at your favorite distilleries and enjoy some of the history and love! I found waiting those seven years to come back and enjoy Maker’s Mark again worth every minute.