A friend of mine celebrated his birthday in September and gave me a little hell for not posting a Bourbon Balls recipe on the food blog in honor of bourbon month. I’ll admit I had never heard of bourbon balls before until he mentioned it. WELCOME TO THE SOUTH, JENN! I had discovered there are so many ways to make yummy bourbon balls and I truly wanted to try a few different variations but because I was on a mission to make a batch for his birthday, it was important that I took into consideration of his nut allergy. Instead of using 1 cup of ground pecans, I used shortbread cookies. All that butter, come on… of course it was still good. So, if you’re looking to make this recipe, feel free to use pecans if you like. I have found using pecans is most traditional.
When making these sexy bite-sized treats it’s important to keep extra bourbon available because depending on the weather that day you may need to add more bourbon. For example, the dry air of Autumn was kicking in and so I had to add an extra splash. And even some times had to dip my finger tips in bourbon that I poured in a bowl to help smooth everything out. Also make sure you use a bourbon that you love drinking.
A few last things to make your bourbon balls more to your personal liking. You don’t have to roll the balls in cocoa powder, you can use whatever you like. Finely chopped coconut shavings, mini chocolate chips, crushed nuts, powdered sugar, or sprinkles. I lightly brushed edible gold dust on top of mine after rolling them in cocoa powder for a subtle look of class, which you can find at pretty much any craft store or on Amazon.com. Let me know how they come out for you!
Makes about 36 balls
1 cup ground Nilla wafer cookies (about 40 cookies)
1 cup ground shortbread cookies (about 10oz box of cookies)
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more reserved
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup bourbon, plus more just in case
2 tablespoons honey or light corn syrup
36 paper candy cups
Use a food processor to ground the Nilla wafers and shortbread cookies until it’s a flour consistency. If there are any big chunks, remove them. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Pulse several times until everything is combined together. Then, add the bourbon and honey. Let the food processor run until everything forms together like a big sticky ball. Add a splash of bourbon if the dough is too dry.
Place the bourbon dough in a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Put about an 1/8 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder in a bowl.
Use a medium-sized melon baller to scoop out the bourbon dough. Gently roll the dough in between the palm of your hands until it forms a perfect sphere. Roll each ball in the unsweetened cocoa powder and place in a paper candy cup.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. They also stay just fine at room temperature.