Reader’s Recipes: No Bake Bourbon Balls ~ these classic chocolatey bourbon balls are a holiday cookie staple, and best of all, you don’t even have to turn on the oven to make a batch!
Hi all — welcome to my Reader’s Recipes series of holiday cookies. I’m going to be sharing YOUR family recipes here every weekend from now until the New Year. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent in recipes for me to try!
This recipe for No Bake Bourbon Balls was sent in by Tricia, who lives in Fredericksburg Virginia. Tricia is a reader, a friend, and a blogger herself, at Saving Room for Dessert. This is her mother’s recipe, and one of her family’s favorites. I can see why, they’re out of this world, but be forewarned — it’s a simple cookie but it’s a potent cookie — Tricia says you will definitely get a buzz if you eat too many on an empty stomach!
Tricia’s recipe called for crushed Nilla Wafers, but since I didn’t have any, I pulled a little switcheroo, like so many of us do with recipes. I went with what I had, which were deep chocolate Nabisco Famous Wafers. Luckily you can probably substitute any plain cookie you like for the crumbs in this recipe, as long as they are dry and finely ground. Graham crackers or gingersnaps would work, while filled cookies like Oreos, or chocolate chips, wouldn’t.
This one is for all you non-bakers out there — it’s probably the easiest recipe I’ve featured so far in this series because there’s no cooking involved at all. The dough is tossed together, scooped out, rolled in small balls, and coated in powdered sugar, twice, just to make sure they get good and snowy white. I love the stark contrast between the sugar and the deep chocolate center.
These innocent looking cookies cookies pack quite a bourbon wallop, which gives them a really festive vibe. I think because they are so liquor heavy they would make a really nice after dinner treat. Set out a small tray of them with some of the same bourbon, (I used Maker’s Mark) and coffee….très elegant!
They also make a nice offering to bring to an adult dinner party.
Another adaption you can make to these cookies, besides using different cookie crumbs, is to use an alternate alcohol. Tricia suggests bourbon, rum, or whiskey, and I think a liqueur like amaretto or frangelico would also be fantastic. Really any alcohol you like would work, as long as it has flavor. And by the way, use good quality stuff — it’s the holidays for gosh sakes!
These cookies get even better the next day so they can be made ahead with confidence. The flavors mingle, the whiskey mellows, and the texture becomes almost like fudge — delish!. I liked them best chilled, and Tricia says her mom used to put them out in the garage to stay cool.
- I used my food processor to grind the crumbs and the pecans because you want a nice, even, fine texture.
- If your dough seems a little bit too wet to form into balls, add a little bit more crumbs. My dough as not super stiff, and the bottoms flattened a bit when I sat them on the tray, that was fine with me. The heavy sugar coating holds them together.
- This is a fun recipe to play with and make your own. Vary the cookie crumb, the type of nut, and the liquor, and you can create your own custom cookie.
- These are not for children, keep them out of sight. (Tricia confesses she and her brothers used to sneak the cookies from the garage so stay vigilant!)
Tricia thank you so much for letting me share these! I’m going to be a very happy girl for many nights to come with our yummy stash.
recipe slightly adapted from Saving Room for Dessert
- 3 cups finely crushed Nilla Wafers (I used Nabisco Famous Wafers and I needed a package and a half)
- 1 cup ground pecans
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 Tbsp corn syrup
- 1/2 cup bourbon, rum, or whiskey
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour in the liquids and mix well.
- Form small balls and roll in powdered sugar. Set on a tray and let sit for an hour.
- Roll once more in the powdered sugar, and then refrigerate until ready to serve.
- These cookies can be served chilled or at room temperature.
Don’t forget to pin these No Bake Bourbon Balls!