Friday, December 16, 2011

Bourbon Balls

The Christmas Holiday wouldn't be complete without Bourbon Balls.  I've been making this recipe since my sister Melody unleashed it on me about 5 years ago.

These boozy little delights go a long way.  You can nibble on one for hours or pop a whole one in your mouth if you are setting out to get a buzz.

Here are your ingredients.  Vanilla Wafers, pecan pieces, powdered sugar, light corn syrup, unsweetened cocoa Dutched, bittersweet chocolate morsels and of course bourbon.

A note on a few of the ingredients...
first, use a good bourbon.  I'm using Knob Creek this batch but I usually make them with Makers Mark;

second, this recipe calls for Dutched cocoa instead of natural cocoa.  "Dutched" is a process where the beans are treated with a potassium solution to neutralize the acidity of the cocoa bean before grinding. Natural cocoa is when the cocoa bean has simply been roasted before ground into a fine powder.  Dutched powder will be darker in color; and

thirdly, the original recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate morsels but Melody and I prefer the bittersweet.

 You will want to break up the vanilla wafers before you measure them out.  Put some in a baggie and use whatever weapon you find at hand break them up into pieces about this big..

A little note here...before you start processing all of your ingredients together, process some extra vanilla wafers to a powder and set aside.  You may need to add some at the end if you feel your mixture is too wet.

 Chop your pecans into pieces. 

In a food processor, process the vanilla wafers, pecans and chocolate morsels until ground to a powder.

 Add 3/4 cup of the powdered sugar & the cocoa powder & process until incorporated with your wafer-pecan-morsel powder.  Tip:  keep the pusher in the feed tube if you don't want powdered sugar to come flying out.

With the motor running, add the corn syrup and bourbon through the feed tube and process until well blended.  Let the mixture stand for 5 - 10 minutes to firm up.

Shape mixture into 1" balls.  This 2 tsp. scoop makes perfect 1" balls and helps keep your balls a uniform size.

Place the balls on a sheet of wax paper.  I usually get 30 to 32 balls out of the batch. 

After resting in the refrigerator for about an hour, roll your little balls in the remaining powdered sugar and store in an airtight container (sometimes I give the balls a second roll in more powdered sugar after coating all of them once).  Let them mellow at least overnight in the refrigerator.

Melody's Bourbon Balls
Yield 30 - 32 balls

1-1/2 cup coarsely crushed vanilla wafers
1-1/3 cup (5-1/2 ounces) chopped pecans
1/3 cup (2 ounces) bittersweet chocolate morsels
1-1/4 cup powdered sugar divided
2-1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder - Dutched processed
2-1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/3 cup quality bourbon (such as Makers Mark or Knob Creek)

Mise en Place:
  • crush vanilla wafers
  • chop pecans
  • measure out other ingredients
  • assemble your utensils
In a food processor, process the wafers, pecans and chocolate morsels until ground to a powder.

Add 3/4 cup of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder.  Process until equally incorporated. 

With the motor running add the corn syrup and bourbon through the feed tube.  Process until well blended.  Let mixture stand 5 - 10 minutes to firm up slightly.  If mixture is dry add up to 1 Tbsp. of water, processing until smoothly incorporated.  If a little too wet, add extra powdered vanilla wafers a little at a time.

Shape mixture into 1" balls with slightly greased hands or using a 2 tsp. scoop.  Place rolled balls on waxed paper set on a cookie sheet.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Spread remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a shallow bowl or pie plate.  Roll balls into the sugar until thoroughly coated.

Refrigerate the bourbon balls in an airtight container, at least overnight, before serving.  This will allow them to mellow nicely.

Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to a month.

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