We are just beginning #Choctoberfest, so I figured why not start with something really good. I've never been known to pass up a dessert with a bit of liquor in it. These little Bourbon Balls are just that! This is an easy recipe for a bite sized no bake dessert with just the right amount of bourbon. Bourbon balls are the perfect adult dessert for the upcoming holidays.
Most of the time these little delights have rum in them. But there is something I love about the flavor of a really good bourbon in my desserts. I was surfing around online and saw a few recipes that all directed me to the Mast Brothers. They have a chocolate bourbon ball recipe that will knock you on your rear! Holy cow! Their main piece of advice is to test the bourbon extensively for flavor during all times of the recipe creation. Good thing the recipe was short, or we may not have made it to the end.
After trying the recipe a few times, we made some changes to it. At the end we rolled these bourbon balls in a mixture of confectioners sugar and cocoa powder.
History of Bourbon Balls
Bourbon Balls, also known as Kentucky Bourbon balls, are a Kentucky confection. Bourbon Balls were created in 1938 by Ruth Hanly Booe who had left her teaching job in 1919 to start a candy business with a friend. It is said that Ruth got the idea for bourbon balls after the Kentucky Governor at the time, Ruby Laffoon, commented that there was no better taste than a bite of chocolate and a sip of bourbon. Ruth created the recipe for this no bake candy made with bourbon, pecans and chocolate. Today, Ruth’s family still runs the company, Rebecca Ruth Chocolates, and you can even order her famous bourbon balls. Over the years, people have modified and created their own versions of bourbon balls by adding different flavors to the mixture.
- Vanilla Wafer Cookies
- Confectioners’ Sugar
- Cocoa Powder
- Maple Syrup
When it comes to selecting bourbon for this recipe, only use really good bourbon that you love. I used Makers Mark in these. It has a great flavor that pairs well with the recipe. It's extremely strong, and there is no sense in having to tolerate bad bourbon.
How To Make Bourbon Balls
In a food processor, mix vanilla cookies, pecans, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa powder. Add maple syrup, vanilla paste, and bourbon to combine. Roll the mixture into small balls. If you want to be consistent with the size, you could use a cookie scoop to ensure you are getting the same size. Roll the balls in ¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to coat. Refrigerate for about an hour. Serve cool or at room temperature.
Make Ahead Treats
- For best flavor you could make these a few days ahead of when you are needing them. It lets the bourbon flavor settle some. You may need to roll them in powdered sugar again right before you serve.
- For longer storage, you can freeze the bourbon balls. When you are ready to use them, let them sit overnight in the refrigerator, then at room temperature for a few hours. Then roll in powdered sugar and you are ready to serve.
Other Bourbon Ball Flavors
- If you are not a fan of bourbon, you can easily replace the liquor with a good quality rum, or even tequila. Even something like Baileys or Kahlua would be great.
- I prefer my pecans toasted for a nuttier flavor. Spread the pecans on a dry skillet and cook over medium heat until slightly toasted. Stir constantly so they don't burn.
- If you don't like pecans you could use almonds, pistachios or even walnuts.
- You could roll the bourbon balls in the remaining vanilla wafers combined with pecans. Or even just cocoa powder.
Next time I make these, I want to try rolling the mixture out, cutting it into squares and dipping them in tempered chocolate. Give these Bourbon Balls a try and let us know how it goes!
Looking For More Recipes?
- 2 cups vanilla wafer cookies
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar plus ¼ cup for rolling
- 2 teaspoon cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon for rolling
- 1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla paste
- ¼ cup bourbon
- Mix cookies, pecans, confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor.
- Add maple syrup, vanilla paste and bourbon to combine.
- Roll the mixture into small balls
- Roll the balls in ¼ cup confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to coat.
- Refrigerate for about an hour. Serve cool or at room temperature.
Here are a few of our favorite Chocolate recipes:
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