Bourbon balls. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)
Kate Wheeler of Pasadena was one of the 10 winners of our first Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off with these bourbon balls:
"Something about the flavor of liquor in desserts just screams 'holiday' to me," she said. "Maybe it's a nod to fruitcake and plum pudding, or maybe it's just a way to get through all the family gatherings of the holidays."
Bourbon balls are one of the favorite holiday cookie recipes we've collected in our updated "Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookies" e-book. The cookbook now includes 65 recipes from a wide range of sources including world-famous pastry chefs, favorite bakeries and home cooks. And check out the favorite holiday recipes we've collected in our "Los Angeles Times Holiday Handbook." The book shares more than 110 seasonal recipes to help you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.
Each book is $4.99, and they are available at the Los Angeles Times bookstore for Kindle, Nook and iBooks.
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Total time: 1 hour, plus chilling time for the dough
Servings: About 4 dozen bourbon balls
10 ounces Nilla wafers or graham crackers, crushed into crumbs (about 2½ cups crumbs)
1 cup finely ground pecan halves
1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
Granulated sugar, for dusting
1. In a large bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, ground pecans and powdered sugar.
2. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate until it's melted (I usually do it for 30 seconds, then in 10-second intervals, stirring between each interval, and stop before they're totally melted because they'll melt as you stir). Stir in bourbon and corn syrup to combine (the chocolate will seize a bit and the bourbon won't incorporate well. Just do the best you can).
3. Add the chocolate mixture to the crumbs mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.
4. Pour some granulated sugar into a dish. Form the chocolate mixture into small balls the size of grapes, and roll each ball in the sugar.
Each of 4 dozen cookies: 73 calories; 1 gram protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 20 mg sodium.