Monday, December 24, 2012

Bourbon Balls

I made bourbon balls for the first time, and they became an instant classic. So delicious, so easy, so boozy. Bourbon balls, or sometimes rum balls, are a Southern thing, but now they're MY thing because I'll be making them every Christmas.

So here's what you do: crush up vanilla wafers and toasted pecans in a food processor, add sugar and cocoa powder, and bind it all together with Karo syrup and bourbon. Then roll in powdered sugar. They're not very sweet, but they sure do taste like alcohol. One last thing: they keep best in the refrigerator, but we like eating them at room temperature because the bourbon-y flavor is all the more intense.

Do you make bourbon balls? What's your recipe? Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Bourbon Balls
Adapted from Joy of Baking.

Makes 36 to 44 depending on size

1 cup (100 grams) toasted pecans
2 cups (220 grams) Nilla wafer cookies
1/2 cup (55 grams) confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons (15 grams) Dutch (or regular) cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt or up to 1/2 teaspoon to taste
1/4 cup bourbon
3 to 4 tablespoons light Karo syrup
Confectioners sugar for coating

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, finely chop the pecans, scraping down bowl and taking care not to turn them into a paste. Transfer to a large bowl. Add Nilla wafers to processor and finely crush. Add to bowl with pecans. Add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, cocoa powder and salt to bowl; stir to combine. Add bourbon and 2 tablespoons of the Karo syrup and stir until thoroughly combined.

Transfer mixture to the food processor (no need to clean between uses). Add 1 tablespoon of the Karo syrup and process until ingredients become very finely chopped and mixture becomes a soft, sticky mass (the mixture will not form a ball) that you can easily roll into balls between your palms without crumbling. Add the extra tablespoon of Karo syrup as needed.

Shape mixture into slightly smaller than 1" balls and roll in confectioners sugar to coat thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Serve at room temperature.

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