Rum balls are pretty standard Christmas fare, although I feel like I haven’t seen them on a holiday tray in ages. Maybe they were more of an 80’s thing? Well, I’m bringing them back and making them fashionable again. This time instead of rum I rocked bourbon, and whew! These babies pack a punch. A positively festive little treat that will ensure there is plenty of merriment and cheer to go around. Chocolate, pecans and bourbon rolled into little balls and then dredged in sugar. A much easier recipe than I anticipated; they are very similar to truffles, but much quicker and simpler to shape and roll. Definitely an easy addition to your holiday goodie list if you’re looking for some ideas to round out your cookie tray. I guarantee the relatives will thank you.
The way these little balls come together is a bit like magic. You pulverize Nilla wafers, grind up some pecans and sift powdered sugar; it all gets mixed together. Then you melt chocolate, throw in some bourbon and corn syrup. Mix into the crumb combo and it’s sort of sludgy. You let it sit for 30 minutes and then, poof! Magic! It’s solidified and you can easily scoop it up and roll it into neat little balls. I used my small cookie scoop for this and amazingly, I got the EXACT number of balls that the recipes stated it yields. That pretty much never happens. Sure, I’ll get somewhere in the close vicinity, but usually not exact. I was kitchen-nerd excited.
You could always change this up with different flavors – maybe almonds and Frangelico, pistachios and Amaretto, walnuts and Grand Marnier, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Go crazy! And enjoy adding some boozy goodness to the holidays
Chocolate Bourbon Balls
Yield: 50 bourbon balls
Total Time: 30 minutes
These Bourbon Balls pack a punch and are a great addition to any cookie tray.
2½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs (Nilla wafers)
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup pecans, finely ground
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
½ cup bourbon
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
Granulated sugar, for rolling
1. Place cookie crumbs, powdered sugar and ground pecans in a large bowl and stir to combine.
2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (30 second increments at 50% power, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth). Stir in the bourbon and corn syrup. Add the chocolate mixture to the dry mixture and stir well to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes. Place some granulated sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Roll the mixture between your palms into 1-inch balls (I used my small cookie scoop), then roll in the granulated sugar to coat. Place the balls in an airtight container, separating layers with aluminum foil or wax paper, and allow flavors to develop by sitting at room temperature overnight. Place in small paper cups to serve, if desired.
Recipe adapted from A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies