These potent little treats are the holiday indulgence I look forward to year after year: Grannie made them faithfully every Christmas and then passed the recipe along to my mother, who carries on the same delectable tradition. Although I was merrily consuming them while still in diapers, I don’t recommend you give them to children–they have a bit of a kick!
These delights require no baking at all, and you can use rum or bourbon, whichever you prefer (it‘s a toss-up at my house). Either way, Rum or Bourbon Balls have a flavor you can savor well into the New Year.
We recommend using the best-quality organic sugar and vanilla wafers you can find.
3 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies (use a food processor, like Mom, or put them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin, the way Grannie did)
3 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup rum or bourbon
extra confectioner’s sugar or chopped nuts for coating
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cookie crumbs, sugar, pecans, and cocoa. Add corn syrup and alcohol and mix well.
2. Allow mixture to sit 20 to 30 minutes so crumbs will absorb liquid.
3. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioner’s sugar or chopped nuts. (My mother recommends putting the balls in a container with 1/4 cup or so of confectioner’s sugar, placing a lid on it, and shaking it once a day when you think about it. She says this will coat them just fine.)
Makes around 3 dozen.
By Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).