Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bourbon Balls

Amaretto Balls- Angie's Recipe
My sister Angie makes the best holiday cookie plates! She does much better at the balanced assortment of goodies than I do. I'm always trying new things (i.e. cookie failure!) and sometimes I get a little bit of tunnel vision and my plate becomes too much of one thing. (This year turned out to be all about balls!) Angie has her tried and true favorites and sticks to them. She's really perfected them.

Every year I look forward to her bourbon balls and perhaps even more so now because they're the one thing on the plate I don't have to share with my kids!

My sister was kind enough to share her recipe with me this year. Funny thing- the recipe calls for 'vanilla wafers'. I went to the store to get them and on my way down the cookie aisle I saw Nilla wafers. I stopped in my tracks. "Oh, I bet those are what I'm supposed to use!" Can you guess what I was on my way to get? Those little vanilla creme wafers with frosting in the middle. I wonder how that would have turned out. Lots of sugary frosting and not much bulk in the little wafer to hold the cookie together. Whew, cookie failure averted!
Bourbon Balls- Angie's Recipe
I was mentioning my sister's bourbon balls in my in-laws and they started telling great stories about Grandma's bourbon balls. It seems she was known for her strong bourbon balls. It seemed a little test was in order.
Grandma Bailey's Bourbon Balls
The recipes are practically identical except for two point. 1. Grandma uses melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder and 2. the amount of alcohol. Angie's balls use 1/4 cup of bourbon. Grandma's balls use 1/3 cup of bourbon, however the stories that were related led me to believe this is how Grandma measured her 1/3 of a cup: She placed the measuring cup over the bowl with the ingredients and poured until the cup overflowed and then kept pouring for just a moment longer.
Grandma Bailey's Bourbon Balls
Both recipes are great, each is just a little different. Angie's balls are little more crumbly and Grandma's balls are little more smooth- like eating a piece of fudge.

Bourbon Balls
Printable Recipe

Grandma Bailey's Bourbon Balls
2 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs melted chocolate with melted butter (or cocoa powder)
3/8 tsp salt
3 Tbs dark corn syrup
1/3 cup (or more) Bourbon
powdered sugar for rolling

1. Mix together the wafers, sugar, cocoa and nuts.  Add the corn syrup and bourbon, mix well. 
2. Roll into 1" balls and roll in powdered sugar. 

Angie's Bourbon Balls
2 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (food processor works great)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS cocoa 
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
3 TBS corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon (or amaretto)
granulated sugar for rolling

1. Mix together the wafers, sugar, cocoa and nuts.  Add the corn syrup and bourbon, mix well. 
2. Roll into 1" balls and roll in granulated sugar.  
Tip: These are best "aged".  Make them at least 2 weeks ahead of time for a mellower flavor.  If you prefer stronger alcohol flavor, make them and eat them right away.  No need to refrigerate, with all that booze, they'll keep at least as long as it takes to eat them!


  1. I love your stories about the near disaster with the wafers and Grandma's measuring technique!

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