Dessert Featured Recipes — 05 May 2017

Grab your floppy sunhat, nibble on one of these chocolaty, no-bake goodies and you’re off to the races!

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

The Kentucky Derby has been at the top of my bucket list ever since I saw the Disney movie Secretariat. Last year, lucky me got to cross it off. The fashion and festivities of Churchill Downs was a lifetime experience. The pin stripped suits and pastel parade of fancy hats and whimsical fascinators, made me feel like I was in a Hollywood movie. But my favorite part of the Kentucky Derby was of course, the mint juleps and Southern-style food. This year I’ll be watching the race on the big screen and recreating the fun by hosting a Kentucky Derby party. While my horse may not come in first place, all bets are on my chocolate-pecan bourbon balls. Inspiration for this no-bake dessert came from Bon Appétit. The original recipe called for walnuts, but I prefer pecans. I also recommend smaller portions to trim calories. Another tip: use a high-quality bourbon and cill the dessert overnight to enhance the boozy flavor.

For more quick and easy Kentucky Derby recipes like Deviled Eggs and Grilled Ham, Cheese and Pickled Sandwiches, download my free app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals from iTunes or Google Play!

Chocolate-Pecan Bourbon Balls

24 servings

Prep Time = 20 minutes

Chill Time = 15 minutes or overnight


9 ounces pitted dates, chopped

3 tablespoons boiling water

1 ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes; divided use

1 ½ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup bourbon

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup powdered sugar


  1. Place dates and water in large bowl; let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer dates to food processor; add 1 cup coconut flakes, pecans, bourbon, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. Pulse about 3-5 minutes or until chunky mixture forms.
  3. Use a tablespoon to form 24 rounded balls. Roll balls in remaining coconut flakes.
  4. Place bourbon balls on jelly roll pan and chill.

Nutritional Information per Serving (1 enchilada): 103 calories, 1 gram protein, 11 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 0 milligrams sodium










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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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