Spirited Cooking: Bourbon Balls

From frosty Mint Juleps in the summer to warming drams in the winter, we love drinking bourbon year-round.

But this month, we go out of our way to enjoy the complex spirit, since September is National Bourbon Heritage Month. Seriously: A few years ago, Congress even passed a bill making the celebration official. While observing is, of course, voluntary, we strongly suggest you mix up a slew of Old Fashioneds, Presbyterians and Horse’s Necks during the next couple weeks.

You can also use the liquor in some traditional baked goods. So, we asked our friends Matt and Ted Lee, whose 2007 The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook won a James Beard Award, for their simple and delicious Hot-Spiced Bourbon Balls recipe. (The best part is that it only takes about 15 minutes to create.)

While the treat is most often served at the holidays, the brothers like to make it any chance they get. Once you taste the sweet mix of whiskey, nuts, cocoa and spices, you’ll no doubt agree with them.

Hot-Spiced Bourbon Balls

Contributed by Matt and Ted Lee

INGREDIENTS:

  • .25 cup Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Sorghum syrup, cane syrup, molasses or honey
  • 1.25 cups Powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • .5 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • .25 tsp Ground mace
  • .25 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • .5 tsp Salt
  • 10 oz Vanilla wafers (about 60)
  • 1 cup Coarsely chopped pecans

PREPARATION:
In a small bowl, whisk together the bourbon and sorghum syrup until well combined. In a large bowl, sift together 1 cup of the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder, cayenne, mace, cinnamon and salt. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the bourbon mixture until a smooth, glossy paste forms.

In a food processor, pulse the vanilla wafers into fine crumbs, about 10 (5-second) pulses. Add the wafer crumbs and pecans to the bourbon mixture and stir until consistently doughy and workable, about 2 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, roll each ball in the remaining .25 cup powdered sugar, and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid, with a sheet of waxed paper between layers, for up to 4 days.

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Comments

  1. do these get cooked or eaten raw?

  2. Oh how I do LOVE bourbon balls. I will make one goodie for the holidays and this is it!

  3. I MELT A 12 OZ BAG OF DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS IN A DOUBLE BOILER AND THEN ADD CHOPPED MARISCHINO CHERRIES AND VERY QUICKLY ADD 1/4 CUP OF BOURBON. MIX IT TOGETHER AS FAST AS U CAN BECAUSE IT SETS RIGHT AWAY AND FIRMS UP. SPREAD IT OUT LIKE FUDGE AND WHEN IT GETS FIRM ENOUGH JUST CUT IT IN SQUARES …WHICH U CAN LEAVE IT THAT WAY OR U CAN TAKE THE SQUARE AND ROLL IT IN UR HAND TO MAKE A BALL AND THEN POWDER IT WITH SOME HOT CHOCOLATE POWDER. ITS DELICIOUS!!

  4. TiffanyK says

    I made these for my family for Thanksgiving and most people hated them. My husband and I thought they were delicious, though. I think what people couldn’t handle was the 1/2 tsp of cayenne. To me, that’s nothing. They were spicy but not unbearable.

    I then made them for a group of friends for a party a couple of weeks later and only added 1/4 tsp of cayenne. EVERYONE loved them. I had people asking me for the recipe all night.

    All in all, the original recipe is perfect if you are making them for people that can handle a bit of spice. If you think that anyone you are making them for or yourself might not like the spice from the cayenne try cutting the cayenne to 1/4 tsp.

    Great recipe and so easy!

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