My Recipe Box

Bourbon Balls


Yields 3-1/2 to 4 dozen.

  • To learn more, read:
    Cooking with Bourbon
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 89

For some of us, it wouldn’t be Christmas without these rich, potent treats. I like to make them with chocolate or vanilla cake scraps that I’ve saved in the freezer, but you can also use a store-bought pound cake, since saving scraps takes some forethought. But if you happen to have scraps, or even a leftover cake layer, here’s your chance to use them.

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 8 oz. pecans, toasted and cooled (about 2 cups)
  • 8 oz. plain homemade or storebought pound cake (thawed if frozen), cut into cubes (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon and vanilla. Sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the cream and let sit without stirring for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse the pecans in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the pound cake and pulse until the nuts and cake are finely chopped.

Stir the chocolate and the cream until smooth. Pour the chocolate over the pecan and pound cake mixture in the food processor and pulse until combined. Transfer to a medium bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until firm enough to scoop, about 1 hour.

Sift the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar together into a medium bowl. Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the bourbon-chocolate mixture and roll it in your hands to form a ball. Transfer the bourbon ball to the cocoa-sugar mixture, roll it around to coat, and transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bourbon-chocolate mixture. Sift some of the remaining cocoa-sugar mixture over the bourbon balls just to dust them. Refrigerate the bourbon balls until firm, about 2 hours. For a nice presentation, you can put them in mini muffin cups.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per bourbon ball, Calories (kcal): 110, Fat (kcal): 8, Fat Calories (g): 70, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 9, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 30, Cholesterol (g): 10, Fiber (g): 2,

Photo: Scott Phillips

These balls are more fudge like than the traditional (vanilla wafer)rum balls. It took about 1-1/2 hrs.of refrigeration to get the dough to the right consistency for rolling into balls. Make sure hands are dry before rolling them in the cocoa/powdered sugar mix, or the dusting does not completely adhere. These cookies have to be stored in the refrigerator, which makes it difficult to include them in my Christmas cookie gift giving.

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