Bourbon Balls Tested Recipe
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The decorative look of Bourbon
Balls makes them a festive addition to any Christmas tray. Bourbon Balls are a
sweet and chewy, no-bake confection made from a combination of crushed
vanilla wafers, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, chopped pecans or
walnuts, held together with a little corn syrup and bourbon. It is easy to
like Bourbon Balls since they taste great, they are quick and easy to
make, and they only improve with age. Essentially Bourbon Balls and
Rum Balls are twins, the only difference being
the alcohol. It seems to me that whether you prefer Bourbon Balls or Rum
Balls may have to do with where you live and whether you come from a
bourbon or a rum drinking family.
Did you know that in 1964
the U.S. Congress declared bourbon to be "America's Native Spirit"?
Bourbon is an American whisky made primarily from corn and it is named
after Bourbon County, Kentucky. Although bourbon can be made anywhere in
the United States, only bourbon from the state of Kentucky is allowed to
have its' name of origin printed on its' label. Now Bourbon Balls will
only taste as good as the bourbon you use, so if you wouldn't drink it
from a glass, don't use it. There are a few ways to maximize the flavor of
these little gems. First, I recommend toasting the pecans to bring out
their wonderful flavor. But don't feel you have to use pecans, for walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds also
make excellent bourbon balls. While many recipes call for finely crushed
vanilla wafers, other favorites are graham cracker crumbs or you might
like to try using crushed shortbread cookies, crushed ginger cookies, or
even crushed chocolate
wafers. You can use either natural unsweetened or Dutch-processed cocoa
powder. Also corn syrup is a thick, sweet syrup made from cornstarch that
is available both clear (light) and brown (dark). It is sold
in glass or plastic bottles. If you cannot find light corn syrup than liquid
glucose syrup can be used in this recipe. If you find that after mixing the ingredients the batter
is quite sticky, chill it for about 30
minutes. While I often just roll the cookies in Confections (powdered or
icing) sugar, you could also roll them in granulated white sugar, cocoa
powder, chopped nuts, or they can even be dipped in melted chocolate. Bourbon Balls really taste better
if stored for at least a day or two so their flavors have time to mingle and
soften. Make sure to store the bourbon balls in a covered container in the
refrigerator but bring them to room temperature before serving.
To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the
oven rack in
the center of the oven. Put the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8
minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool completely and then
vanilla wafer cookies in your food processor until finely chopped. Add the
crumbs to the chopped pecans. To this mixture add the confectioners sugar and
cocoa powder and stir until combined. Add the corn syrup and bourbon and mix
well. Add more bourbon if necessary. Chill the batter and then shape into 1 inch
(2.5 cm) balls.
Roll the bourbon
balls in confectioners sugar, finely chopped nuts, or cocoa powder. If dipping
in chocolate, put about 3 ounces (90 grams) of chopped dark chocolate and 1
teaspoon of shortening or butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
Once melted, remove from heat and dip the
balls, one at a time, in the melted chocolate, making sure the entire ball is
coated with chocolate. Then, with two spoons or a dipping fork, remove the
bourbon balls from the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to
drip back into the bowl. Place the chocolate covered balls on a baking sheet.
When all the balls have been dipped in the chocolate, place in the refrigerator
until the chocolate has set. Once the chocolate has hardened you can drizzle the
bourbon balls with melted white chocolate.
Can be stored in
an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve at room temperature.
Makes about 36
Bourbon Balls. Preparation time 30 minutes.
Anderson, Jean. A Love Affair with Southern Cooking.
William Morrow. New York: 2007.
Fashionable Food. MacMillan. New York: 1995.
Wilson, Dede. A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas
Cookies. The Harvard Common Press. Boston: 2003.
1 cup (100 grams)
pecans or walnuts
2 cups (220 grams) vanilla
wafer cookies, finely crushed
1/2 cup (55 grams) confectioners
(powdered or icing)
2 tablespoons (15 grams)
(can used Dutch processed or regular unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
(or liquid glucose syrup)
1/4 cup (60 ml) bourbon
Confectioners (powdered or icing) Sugar
chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Chocolate (Dark or White)