These easy, no-bake Bourbon Balls are a perfect way to add a little festive flavor to your holiday! Vanilla wafers, pecans, a hint of chocolate, and bourbon combine to create a potent little treat that’s perfect for gift-giving, holiday parties, and more!
From the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper, Christmas at our house wasn’t complete without whipping up a batch of Dad’s favorite bourbon balls. This tradition was nestled right alongside making things like our famous Martha Washington Candy and the crunchiest peanut brittle you ever did taste.
The secret to these bourbon balls? An old community cookbook that Mom stumbled upon years ago – and let me tell you, we’ve been faithfully following that recipe ever since!
What are bourbon balls?
These bourbon balls are a delightful confection, a real treat straight from the heart of Kentucky. Picture this: a smooth, sweet center made with a mix of crushed nuts (usually pecans), powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and a splash of bourbon, all rolled into a bite-sized ball. Then, to add a little extra magic, these little truffles are rolled in a little more powdered sugar, giving them a decadent finish.
They’re like little morsels of Southern hospitality, perfectly blending the warmth of bourbon with the sweetness of sugar and chocolate. They’re ideal for holidays, celebrations, or just because!
How long will bourbon balls keep?
Typically, bourbon balls can last up to two weeks, as long as they’re stored in the fridge in an airtight container. This is because the bourbon acts as a natural preservative.
But wait, there’s more! If you’re really planning ahead or maybe want to surprise yourself with a treat down the road, bourbon balls can be frozen for up to three months. Just make sure they’re wrapped snuggly and stored in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy them, let them thaw at room temperature, and voilà – it’s like a little taste of the holidays, no matter the season.
Can I swap the bourbon for rum or another liquor?
Absolutely, you can swap out the bourbon in bourbon balls for another liquor, and let me tell you, it’s a fun way to put your own spin on this classic treat! Think about the flavor profile you’re aiming for and choose a liquor that complements it. You’ll just swap the bourbon for the same amount of another liquor. Here are a few spirited suggestions:
- Rum: For a bit of a tropical twist, light or dark rum can be added. Dark rum can add a rich, molasses-like sweetness.
- Whiskey: If you’re a fan of the original but just want to try a new whiskey variety, this is a great option. Each type brings its own unique character.
- Brandy: This offers a fruity and slightly floral note, which can be a delightful change.
- Amaretto: For a nuttier, sweeter flavor, amaretto is a fantastic choice.
The key is to maintain the balance of flavors. Remember, the liquor isn’t just for a kick; it’s an integral part of the harmony of tastes. And hey, experimenting with flavors is half the fun in the kitchen!
Can I get drunk from bourbon balls?
First off, let’s remember that bourbon balls typically contain bourbon (as the name suggests), along with other ingredients like chocolate, chopped pecans, and sugar. The amount of bourbon in each ball isn’t usually a lot, but it’s enough to give them that distinct bourbon flavor.
Since these bourbon balls are no-bake, the alcohol in bourbon balls isn’t cooked off, as it might be in other recipes where booze is used. This means that the alcohol content remains pretty much intact in the finished product. However, you’d likely need to eat a lot of them to really feel the effects of the alcohol, because each ball contains only a small amount of bourbon.
Think of it like this: if you were trying to catch a buzz from bourbon balls alone, you’d probably end up in a sugar coma long before you felt any real tipsy effects from the alcohol. Plus, you’d have to contend with a pretty significant stomachache from all that rich, sweet goodness.
While there’s technically alcohol in bourbon balls, the amount is usually so small per ball that you’re unlikely to actually get drunk from them. They’re more about savoring that delicious hint of bourbon flavor than anything else. Enjoy them responsibly, and maybe keep a glass of milk handy to balance out all that sweetness!
- 1 (11-ounce) package vanilla wafer cookies
- 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or flavoring
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- powdered sugar for coating
- Use a food processor or food chopper to crush the cookies to fine crumbs. You can also put the cookies in a large ziptop bag and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to finely crush the cookies.
- Add the cookie crumbs, pecans, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar to a large bowl and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the bourbon, vanilla, and corn syrup together. Add the bourbon mixture to the cookie crumb mixture and stir to combine and a thick dough forms.
- Use a cookie scoop to measure out 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll into roughly 1-inch balls.
- Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl and roll the bourbon balls in the powdered sugar to coat. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Store the bourbon balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
* If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. The values do not include optional ingredients or when ingredients are added to taste. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.