Holiday Party Food: Bourbon Balls

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bourbon balls It's the Holiday Season, if you haven't noticed. Sappy music is piped into our ears if we dare venture pretty much anywhere outside. Macy's is back to putting live kittens in their store windows. People are stressed out at the thought of having to entertain, buy presents, and spend their dwindling piles of money.

And I'm busy-- I've got lots of parties to go to. Because I'm that popular.

I have decided that this year, in light of my own evaporating bankroll, I shall indulge in the spirit of giving by sharing with my friends and loved ones items I have made with my own little hands. Or not so little-- I have more than an octave reach, in piano terms. Not that I play the piano.

This year, I am making Bourbon Balls. No jokes, please. They contain all the vitamins and minerals necessary to get me through the Season: sugar, chocolate, and alcohol. They are relatively easy to make, but look as though I've slaved away at them. And they're good. Chocolaty, not too sweet, slightly salty, and just a little boozy.

The way I see it, the chocolate boosts not only one's endorphins, thus enhancing one's Holiday mood, it helps out the immune system, too. Alcohol, of course, lowers one's inhibitions, which helps at just about any party I've ever been to. This leads me to the conclusion that, if there is some hot stranger in a Christmas sweater you've been eyeing from across the room, I might prescribe several Bourbon Balls before making your move. With the resultant boost in mood, courage, and disease immunity, you'll be nicely set up for an approach. If he or she simply stares blankly and then proceeds to sneeze on you, you're well protected. If this is the case, return to the plate of Bourbon Balls and repeat with your #2 choice of mate.


Bourbon Balls

The basic recipe seems to be comprised of crushed cookies, nuts, bourbon, and cocoa powder. None of the recipes I perused included salt, which I found alarming. So I added some. I would advise against going overboard with the Bourbon. You want the balls to taste of Bourbon, but not reek of it. Again, no jokes, please.

Makes about 25


For the filling:

28 to 30 vanilla wafers, finely crushed (about 1 cup)

1 cup toasted, shelled pecans, finely chopped

3 tablespoons good, unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

3 tablespoons bourbon. Might as well make it a good one.

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For making them presentable:

25 whole pecans. On the small side. Either toasted or candied. I chose candied because, well, I'm making candy.

About 12 oz. of good bittersweet chocolate


1. Mix crushed wafers, pecans, sugar, cocoa, and salt together in a medium bowl. Combine bourbon and corn syrup in a separate, smaller bowl, add to the wafer mixture and stir well until combined. With a teaspoon measure, scoop a small bit and roll into a ball approximately the size of a walnut in its shell. Transfer onto a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Repeat, of course until done.

I say paper towels because, these balls are going to weep, which is not entirely surprising, given the faced that they have been so mercilessly plied with booze. It happens and we must be prepared.

2. In a double boiler or glass bowl which fits snugly over a saucepan with a little water in it, melt the chocolate. Gently place the balls, one by one, into the chocolate, turning them around with a fork (do not impale them. I use a small fork to allow excess chocolate to drip off the balls with ease.). Lift the ball out of the melted chocolate, and shake gingerly to remove excess chocolate. Place on a sheet pan lined with waxed or parchment paper. Repeat until all balls have been dipped. And you can stop your giggling now, thank you very much. While the chocolate is still wet, top each ball with a candied nut. Let them cool.

You may keep these refrigerated for up to one week, but I don't think they'll be around that long. Really.