Fall for Sweet Treats 

Fall for bourbon barrel-aged flavor with delicious recipes using our sweet candy creations! 

Distilled: Golden Ticket Giveaway: Barrel-Aged Candy Recipes

Fall is a spectacular season of splendor. Leaves are changing, temperatures are cooling down, and fall flavor is put on display. From tailgates and fire-pits, to family gatherings - we love to enjoy signature Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged flavor everything from our Old Fashioned's to our hearty chili.  Of course, fall is also home to a few holidays, namely Thanksgiving, but let's not forget the one that turns our children into little goblins - both literally and figuratively. Of course, we are talking about Halloween. While this is considered spooky season for many, we prefer the other aspect that focuses on, you guessed it, treats!

So we are announcing that it is officially candy season. For us, that begins with the first hint of crisp air and lasts all the way through Holiday Season. Well, when you love our signature bourbon-barrel aged candies as much as we do, candy season has no beginning or end, but we sure will take this opportunity to celebrate it. Learn more about our Golden Ticket Giveaway. 

 When we began Pappy & Company ten years ago, we  knew we had to introduce our own bourbon balls. A delightfully decadent little bite of bliss, the Bourbon Ball is the stuff of Kentucky lore. Originally crafted by Rebecca Ruth Candy Company in 1938, we had to knock our version of the bourbon ball out of the park in order to be a part of that conversation, and frankly, we think we did. Especially since our signature Bourbon Balls do boast that "Yes, we DO HAVE our Bourbon Balls!" Made in partnership with our friend Maggie Jones of The Sugar Mamas Bakeshop in Louisville, they are the just right combination of chocolate and a creamy bourbon laced filling.  So while you may say fall is football season, or fall is apple season or pumpkin season, we know that really, fall is bourbon ball season. 

 We expanded our line of culinary confections only when we began to work with another partner who shares a similar approach to quality and craftsmanship, Olive & Sinclair candy in Nashville Tennessee. We began with our signature Bourbon Barrel-Aged Nib Brittle featuring creamy hand crafted chocolate studded throughout with Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged cacao nibs and expanded to include Barrel-Aged Coffee Nib Brittle, Nib Caramels and Barrel-Aged Ghost Pepper Caramels.    Learn more about our partnership with Olive & Sinclair.

Our barrel-aged and bourbon infused confections are delicious on their own, make a great gift and special after dinner treat, but since we don't just stop there - we also have some truly indulgent recipes that take it over the top.

 One such recipe, a chocolate cake with Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle topping was a desert dreamed up by one of the mentees of the Women Culinary and Spirits Program of  The Lee Initiative, the philanthropic mission of our friend, famed Chef, James Beard Award Winning Cookbook Author, and fan favorite from Top Chef, Edward Lee.  Infused with the the flavor of our Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee and topped with our  Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle  this rich and decadent delight from Tonya Mays Cronin delivers a direct hit to your sweet tooth. 

We cooked up these Bourbon Brittle Caramel Apples  last fall, taking advantage of another fall staple - and dipped crisp juicy apples in bourbon soaked creamy caramel and rolled them in crushed Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Brittle for an elevated twist on a childhood favorite. This is also a fun hands-on recipe with kiddos (omitting the bourbon) ,just beware of little hands sneaking away with bites of brittle!

For an aptly named, spookily sweet, spicy and salty treat, we used our Ghost Pepper Caramels (see what we did there) for our own Spicy Sea Salt Caramel Pappycorn (looks like we are on a roll here). Coating popcorn in our Ghost Pepper Caramels, where the perfectly balanced combination of our barrel-aged ghost pepper mash (best known for our fan favorite Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce) and salty, creamy caramel make for a sweet and spicy delight, creates a sweet, salty and spicy snack for sharing (or not). 

Celebrate the splendors of the sweet season with these delicious treats inspired by our barrel-aged flavors!
Louise Van Winkle Breen, Co-Founder

Barrel-Aged Chocolate Cake
by Tonya Mays-Cronin


  • For Cake Layers:
  • 336 grams All Purpose Flour
    605 grams Granulated Sugar
    1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
    1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder 
  • 1.5 teaspoons Salt
    363 grams Buttermilk
    165 grams Canola Oil
    3 Whole eggs at room temp, slightly beaten
    1.5 Teaspoons of vanilla extract
    144 grams of cocoa powder
    12 ounces of freshly brewed Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Coffee

    For Chocolate Buttercream:
  • 230 grams unsalted butter, room temp
    450 grams of powdered sugar
    45 grams of cocoa powder
    4 tablespoons of heavy cream
    2 pinches of salt
    2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • optional topping: Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle

    Recipe Note: Yields 3 - 9 inch cake rounds for a 3 layer cake. 


For Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 330 degrees. 
  2. Spray cake pans with cooking spray and place parchment rounds in the bottom of each cake pan. Set aside.
  3. Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift into a bowl and set aside.
  4. In another bowl mix together buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla.  
  5.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until no clumps exist.  
  6.  Mix your coffee and cocoa together until combined. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
  7. Add your coffee mixture to your batter. 
  8. Divide into your prepared cake pans evenly.  About 650 grams of cake batter per pan. 
  9. Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until done. (If you stick a knife in the middle it will come out clean when your cake is done. There may be crumbs but that’s okay as long as it is not wet with batter).

For Buttercream:

  1. With a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. 
  2.  Add powdered sugar, cocoa salt, cream and vanilla.  
  3. Beat on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed until lightened and whipped.  For personal preference, you can add more powder sugar for a thicker consistency or a tablespoon of heavy cream for thinner.  
  4. Ice and assemble. Chop Brittle and sprinkle over top layer. 

Chef Bio:

Tonya is a graduate of Lexington’s Sullivan University and the chef and owner of Kismet in Lexington alongside her husband. Kismet is partnered with the Burl in the Distillery District and serves a street food-esque menu with an Asian Fusion. Tonya and her husband have two daughters who are their biggest food critics.  Her love for both food and her family go hand in hand because some of her best memories being young are with her grandmother in the kitchen.

Spicy Sea Salt Caramel Pappycorn


6 Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Ghost Pepper Caramels
1 teaspoon cream
2 cups popped popcorn
¼ teaspoon Maldon sea salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. In a microwave or on the stove top, pop up your favorite lightly salted popcorn and set aside two cups. 
  3. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add caramels and cream, stirring until gently melted. Once melted, stir in Maldon sea salt. 
  4. Place popcorn in a large glass bowl and pour over the caramel, tossing to coat evenly. 
  5. Lay the caramel coated popcorn in an even layer onto a baking sheet and bake at 325 for 5-7 minutes. 
  6. Remove from oven and toss, breaking popcorn back into individual pieces where it may have clumped and let cool.
  7. Serve up in your favorite popcorn bowl and, of you like it extra salty, sprinkle with extra Maldon salt. 

Bourbon Caramel Apple


  • 6 small Granny Smith apples
    1 cup heavy cream, plus 3 tablespoons
    1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
    1/2 cup light Karo syrup
    5 tablespoons bourbon
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
    Candy Apple Sticks
    Bourbon Barrel-Aged Nib Brittle, finely chopped


  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and lightly brush it with butter. Remove the stems from the apples and insert the sticks into the tops of the apples.
  2. Finely chop the  Bourbon Barrel-Aged Nib Brittle, and set aside.
  3. Heat a large heavy bottomed pot on a medium high heat. Then add cream, sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, butter and salt. 
  4. Cook the caramel until the mixture reaches 250 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.
  5. One the caramel is browned, remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of cream.
  6. Carefully dip each apple in the caramel and then roll the apple in the chopped Bourbon Barrel-Aged Nib Brittle and place on the wax covered baking sheet
  7. Once you have coated all of your apples, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes so the caramel can set.
  8. After 15 minutes remove from the refrigerator, and enjoy!