what a sad thought that two american family run institutions are sold to the highest bidder
Posts Tagged With: bourbon
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!
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.