A little salty, a little sweet, a little boozy.

Recipe: Derby Truffles

These make-ahead gems are easy enough for casual get-togethers and fancy enough for special occasions.

Photo: Jennifer Davick

If you’re planning a Kentucky Derby party, chances are you’ve already got the mint juleps covered. But may I suggest another addition to your race day menu? These no-bake Derby Truffles are always a hit, and they are a cinch to make, even for a big crowd.

Similar to bourbon balls, these easy-to-make truffles are made with bittersweet chocolate, butter, crushed butter shortbread cookies (we like Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread), heavy cream, vanilla extract, and a generous amount of bourbon (1/4 cup—and use the good stuff!).

The chocolate-cookie mixture is chilled until firm, which can be done up to two days in advance. Then, all you have to do is form the mixture into small balls then roll the balls in chopped, roasted, salted pecans. This step can be done up to five days in advance; simply store the truffles in the refrigerator until the day of your party.

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The combination of bourbon, bittersweet chocolate, and salty pecans gives these not-too-sweet truffles a sophisticated edge. If you like your sweets on the…uh, sweeter side, you can replace a portion or all of the bittersweet chocolate with semisweet chocolate.

The recipe makes about three dozen Derby Truffles, perfect for a small party, but you can easily double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe if you’re hosting a big bash. Stack them up high on your prettiest cake stand and get ready for recipe requests!