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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bourbon Balls!

My mother's people are from Mississippi. A fine old family (which, if you're Southern, you know has nothing to do with financial status and everything to do with how loooooong your family has been in the same town) that didn't believe in drinking alcohol--but did believe in baking with it. Every December our house would fill to overflowing with Mississippi Nut Cake (aka Whiskey Cake,) bourbon and brandy-soaked fruitcakes, high test eggnog (usually with bourbon), and my childhood favorite, Bourbon Balls. (No Saturday Night Live NPR sketch jokes, please!)

This no-bake treat could not be simpler to make, and it packs huge flavor in a tiny bite. They're extra festive if you happen to have some edible gold powder to add to the mix. Otherwise, just sift some powdered sugar over them and call it a day. All that is really just gilding the lily, anyway, because the real star here is, of course, the booze! Give these a try if, like my family, you enjoy the smoky honey and molasses bite of bourbon. Don't worry, they're not too strong! Just strong enough. ; )

Share them with your fun friends and neighbors, and feel free to share the recipe, too! They make good gifts, are great for a make-ahead dessert platter, and are the perfect final note to a big, holiday meal.

Full disclosure: I have no idea where this recipe originally came from; it's the one my family has been using and tweaking for decades. If you recognize it as your original work, let me know and I'll happily give you proper credit!

Bourbon Balls

2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (more if you plan to sift a light layer over the finished balls)
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, cooled, then chopped
1/3 cup bourbon (my mama always uses Jack Daniels, but I really like the sweeter flavor of Basil Hayden's or Woodford Reserve)
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon edible gold powder (optional)

Sift together cocoa, 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar and gold powder, if using, and stir well. Set aside in a small bowl.

Stir together wafer crumbs and pecans. In another bowl, whisk bourbon, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and honey. Pour into crumb mixture. Stir until well combined.

Form into balls and roll in cocoa mixture. If you didn't use the edible gold powder, you may like to sift a light dusting of powdered sugar over the balls. Or not! Whatever looks good to you. Enjoy!


Yum. I come from a fine southern family too.

Your blog is killing my willpower. I hope you're happy.

Another Southerner here. I have not had these in eons, thanks for posting.

They are pretty 50's, aren't they? LOL

KP, nothing will kill your willpower faster than the holidays! Don't blame me when it's really Santa's fault.

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