Bourbon Balls

William Rohrs, Managing Editor and Staff Writer

My fondest Christmas tradition involves driving two days northward to Mount Vernon, Washington and spending Christmas with my grandparents. My sister would lean on my shoulder the entire ride over, staking three quarters of the back portion of the car for her own (clearly crossing the demilitarized zone, but my parents would hear none of that while the car was in motion). I remember my eyes flashing with glee as we climb the steep incline that leads to the top of the mountain hideaway that holds my grandma and grandpa. Every time I step into their house, the aromas that make grandma and grandpa’s house home bombard my senses: lasagna cooling on the windowsill, grandpa’s famous trail mix fresh from the oven and the unmistakable powdered sugar bourbon balls nestled like bowling pins on the counter, begging to be eaten.

Grandma never let me help her make anything around the house, especially the bourbon balls. Because the desserts don’t get baked, the bourbon still retains its alcoholic content. Perhaps grandma was concerned I’d be too generous with the liquor or sneak some off for myself. Clever grandma.

Regardless, after the bourbon balls get off the parchment and to the table, it’s a free-for-all. A common Christmas tradition in this house involves midnights, quiet steps and the theft of several bourbon balls in one fell swoop. Usually, I could scare grandma frequently by slurring words and running into things. I was a precocious lad.

Bourbon Balls

-Sift together into medium bowl: -1 cup powdered sugar
-2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa
-Wisk together until well blended: -1⁄4 cup bourbon

-2 Tbs. light corn syrup
-Stir into the cocoa mixture
-Crush in a food processor or electric

-2 1⁄2 cups vanilla wafers (alternatively, put the wafers in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin).

Mix with:

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans. Stir in pecans mixture into the cocoa mixture. Roll into 1-inch balls between your palms. Roll in 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar. Store at room temperature between layers of wax or parchment paper in an airtight container for up to three weeks.