Fudgy Bourbon Balls

By • January 5, 2011 • 40 Comments



Author Notes: I never had a rum ball until I met Merrill. And Merrill knows a good rum ball when she tastes one; she has taught me the finer points of rum ball-dom. A proper rum ball must be dense but moist, and ideally a little gooey. It must sing with booze but shouldn't be too sweet. It should look unpromising and deliver a bang.

It turns out that our friend Melissa Clark has just the recipe for such proper rum balls in her terrific new book In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. I tasted them at a recent joint book signing I did with Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis (Baked Explorations), Melissa Vaughan and Michael Harlan Turkell (The New Brooklyn Cookbook), and Melissa. Barely a soul showed up, so we sat at the long signing table as if we were on a banquette at Balthazar, and dug into samples of the rum balls (a successful signing in my view).

What makes Melissa's rum balls peerless is that she uses Nabisco chocolate wafers, and a little honey to sweeten the "dough."
Amanda Hesser

Makes about 48 balls

  • 2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (best made with Nabisco Famous wafers -- 1 package -- pulverized in a food processor)
  • 1 1/4 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup good bourbon or rum
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus additional for rolling
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the cookie crumbs and pecans until the nuts are finely ground.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the bourbon or rum, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, the cocoa powder, and honey. Add the mixture to the food processor and pulse until just combined. Let the dough rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 4 hours or, lightly covered, overnight. This will dry it out a little.
  3. Use your fingers to roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls in confectioners' sugar. Store the balls airtight if you like them moist, or uncovered if you like them to develop a crunchy sugar crust on the outside. Sprinkle with (or roll the balls in) additional confectioners' sugar just before serving.
Jump to Comments (40)

Tags: bourbon, chocolate, no bake, tasty

Comments (40) Questions (1)

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8 months ago juicyrebound1

These just kept disappearing. The trick is to age them age at least 4 days before diving in, to let the heat of the alcohol subside. Jes' like Mama used to make! Also use decent booze, it makes a difference.

Stringio

11 months ago Chelsey Pierce

is there any why to replace the bourbon?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

11 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Are you looking for a non-alcoholic substitute?

Stringio

10 months ago Chelsey Pierce

yes

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

10 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Tea or coffee would work well.

Stringio

10 months ago Chelsey Pierce

thanks

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

10 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I was also thinking about something like a light ginger syrup or spiced syrup, with a ratio of sugar to water that's more like 1 to 4.

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11 months ago Noelle Paffett Lugassy

Any thoughts on the best way to make these gluten free? Thanks! Bourbon and chocolate are my fav two things. I might add a wee bit of salt flakes on top. Yum!

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8 months ago regan

I use gf ginger snaps or chocolate wafers from Whole Foods and they turn out perfect!

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over 1 year ago Suzanne Moore

Toasting the pecans adds to the flavor. I didn't have enough vanilla wafers so used some graham crackers and shortbread cookies from my pantry. After refrigerating the balls, I dipped them in white chocolate and added another whole toasted pecan on top. Needless to say, they where a hit at my Kentucky Derby party!

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over 1 year ago Muse

Have had these made by a friend of mine, and all I can say is Wow! They are SO delicious you can't stop/don't want to stop eating them! Will definitely make them myself!

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over 1 year ago Ellie.F

jus needed to know what else can i substitute other than bourbon or rum?
Plus can i used like oreo cookies if i dont have wafers??

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over 1 year ago Spork

Made this with Kahlua for the alcohol, delicious!

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over 1 year ago olygirl

Made these last night...Excited to give (what's left) to my friends for holiday treats. One question though, how long do they keep and how best to store them? If I were to make extra tonight, would they still be good for a new years party?

Barbara_davilman

over 1 year ago DAVILCHICK

I can't imagine them not all being eaten by then but maybe that's just me. ;)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

They might dry out a little if you make them tonight, but they're good for about a week, if kept wrapped tightly and packed in an airtight container in the fridge.

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over 1 year ago Bogey12

Have made this great recipe as it directs. If I change to use molasses, do I still use 1.5 Tbsp? And does the molasses work best when you use bourbon or is rum equally good?

Barbara_davilman

over 1 year ago DAVILCHICK

I just made these a day ahead of the dinner party I plan to serve them at but was wondering if I'm supposed to refrigerate or just keep them in an air tight container but at room temp.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I'd chill them, then bring them to room temp before serving.

Barbara_davilman

over 1 year ago DAVILCHICK

Thank you!! And as long as I'm here, my husband and I couldn't help but TASTE one before serving to our guests. They are TO DIE for. I used rum and because it's only Dec 1st I'll be making all the variations. I'll try the bourbon next...I love the idea of the raspberries...I'm going to experiment with Grand Marnier and Creme de Minthe (unless you would advise othersie). Great hostess gift this season!! Thanks!!

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over 2 years ago Bonnie Confer

I decided to play with this after making them the normal way... I added some muddled fresh raspberries and just added a little less rum to balance out the wet dry ratio...I love them!

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over 2 years ago MrShayne

I made the rum version for our family Thanksgiving get-together and they were too stout for most people. I followed the recipe to the T. Even found the Nabisco chocolate wafers. Overall they had a great flavor but the half cup of rum was just way too much. I would make them again but only use 1/4 cup of alcohol. It was totally disappointing to watch people take a bite then throw the rest in the trash.

Barbara_davilman

over 1 year ago DAVILCHICK

I made the first batch with dark rum and I found it too burn-y too. For the second batch I used white rum but it didn't give the balls any flavor so I slowly added the dark rum (to taste) and that got the party started. I found the Bourbon amount to be perfect though.

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over 2 years ago knitnbead

I made these with a combination of leftover cookies (yeah, right) from Christmas, OK, there were some in my freezer that I did not gift. These came out just great. Yum...Hiccup!

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over 2 years ago Anniebfirst

Love the recipe - it looks delicious. But any suggestions for a gluten-free substitute for the wafers?

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over 2 years ago Jessica Edelman

Check whole foods for the gluten free graham crackers. They were perfect for pie crusts I imagine they will translate perfectly!

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over 2 years ago aeben

I always age my bourbon/rum balls making them around Halloween and serving them at Christmas. Store them in a tin with parchment between the layers and hide on pantry shelf. It greatly increases the flavor complexity.

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over 2 years ago TaffyIsVictory

Wonderful!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I made these with bourbon for a cookie exchange party. They are seriously good, but not safe for work!! The flavor is nicely balanced between the boozy kick, chocolate, and nuts. I toasted the pecans to help accentuate them, and recommend doing so. I put them in white mini-muffin papers and sprinkled them with disco dust for a fancy holiday presentation. I plan on making another batch soon!

Pamelalee

over 2 years ago pamelalee

I made these with rum on my Christmas baking day a couple weeks ago. I took them to three holiday parties and still had extras to snack on for a few days when I got home from work.

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over 2 years ago shoesthatilike

I probably wouldn't make these without Nabisco Famous wafers. In a pinch last year I used a brand of organic crispy thin chocolate cookies and, although good, the bourbon balls paled in comparison to ones made with Famous wafers. I was glad to find Famous wafers at the store this morning as I make them again today.

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over 2 years ago claudia_caplan

And one other thing. The Gourmet recipe used molasses instead of honey. Try it!

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I've used molasses instead of honey each of the five (5!!) times I've made these since the recipe was posted, simply because I like molasses a lot more than honey, and it does not overpower, given the chocolate and bourbon. I highly recommend it. ;o)