This started out as an effort to make the Kentucky classic: bourbon balls, a traditional candy made during the holiday season. The ingredients are simple: butter, powdered sugar, pecans, chocolate. Nothing too complicated, except that the novice needs to follow the directions explicitly – which I did not. In the end, I had balls of sugared pecan and butter mix. I decided to use the bourbon ball mix (that is, without the chocolate coating), and make shortbread. This is a rough recreation of the recipe:
Bourbon Pecan Shortbread
1 cup chopped pecans (and additional whole pecans for topping the cookies)
4 Tablespoons bourbon
1/2 pound of butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
Put the chopped pecans and bourbon in a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least three hours, or over night, to let the flavors blend. When the pecans are ready, cream the softened butter with an electric mixer, then add the sugar and blend together well. In another bowl, combine the salt and flour. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it is just barely combined. Next, either roll into a 2 in diameter log, wrapped with wax paper, or roll into 1/4-1/2 inch disk for cookie-cutters, and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour before cutting. After the hour has passed, cut the roll into 1/4-1/2 in cookies, or use a cookie cutter, and place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until a bit golden brown. Remove and let sit for a minute, then cool on a cooling rack. When all the cookies are out of the oven, make the chocolate ganache.
8 oz chocolate chips, semi-sweet (or chipped up fine chocolate)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Put the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. In a saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream until steaming. Once the cream is steaming, turn off the heat and pour the cream onto the chocolate. Stir until well combined.
Let cool slightly, then spoon the chocolate into the center of the cookies, topping in the center with a single pecan.