Christmas Cheer

Bill Campbell Creme de Menthe BallsA little deviation from thoughts of photography to thoughts of the holiday season. I remember when I was about 8 years old, my grandmother would receive a package from my aunt in Kentucky. It would always be some type of cookie tin. Fortunately it was NOT filled with fruitcake, but Kentucky Colonels. Well, these type of “Colonels” were also what we called Bourbon Balls because they were a confection flavored with good Kentucky Bourbon and covered with chocolate. My mother would never let me try one, but one day when I was with my grandmother and no one else was around, she let me try one. Ok, to an 8 year old, it was disgusting. So my grandmother told my aunt and the next year she sent a tin of Kentucky Colonels with a surprise. Some Creme de Menthe Balls for the teatotallers in the family. One bite and I was hooked. This tradition continued until I was in high school and the task changed to my hands. Ever since then, barring a few years in medical school or residency, I have made these gems of a confection for my family. Now my sons ask as to when I am going to make them. It has become a tradition. More so than even having Turkey or Ham for Christmas dinner.

So for all of you out there with a sweet tooth and maybe wanting to start your own tradition, these are reasonably easy to make. It takes several stages though. Maybe next year I will make cooking videos to post about my Christmas favorites..

Here is the recipe handed down from my Grandmother to my mother to me..

Creme de Menthe Balls

1 box confectioners sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts
5-6 T Creme de Menthe (you can find the fake stuff in grocery or the real stuff in liquor store…. I didn’t even know there was a difference until I was about 26)

Creme butter and sugar. Add Creme de Menthe (make sure mixture is fairly stiff and not “sticky”, add more sugar if necessary). Add nuts.
Form into 1 inch balls by rolling in your hands (takes a little practice). Place on cookie sheet and put in refrigerator of at least a couple of hours (I usually leave them overnight).
Once they’ve hardened, you are ready to dip in chocolate.
Melt 5 squares of semi sweet baking chocolate (sometimes I mix with unsweetened baking chocolate. Add enough paraffin (find in grocery store near canning supplies) to make a little runny.
Dip hardened balls into chocolate and take out with a fork and place on cookie sheet covered with wax paper (this makes it easier to take them off when hardened).
Put back into fridge until hardened.

Oh, MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year to all!


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