Bourbon Balls

My mom used makes bourbon balls every Christmas and I always ate one at the big Christmas party they would throw and be disappointed every year. And then once I formed a happy memory with the taste and smell, I loved them! Now they are one of my very favorite parts of Christmas.


  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 box vanilla wafers (12 oz)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp bittersweet cocoa
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup OR 1.5 tbsp honey


Eat a vanilla wafer to make sure they are good

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Then pulse wafers in a food processor until they are crumbs.

Toast nuts in the oven until fragrant, about 4 minutes at 400*, or toast in skillet, being careful they don’t burn

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1 cup powdered sugar

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2 tbsp really good cocoa

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Pulse nuts, sugar and cocoa in with wafers to combine into a nice crumb mixture:

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The Good Guy

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The Bad Guy (or another good guy is honey!)

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Combine bourbon with corn syrup or honey. Add to crumbs. Use hands to combine like so:

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Begin to roll into balls. I find it helpful to squish a blob of dough back and forth between my hands 6-7 times to mush it all together before I begin rolling

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I like to make 10 at a time and then powder them to let them dry slightly

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Form pretty rows

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Recipe makes about 50-60 balls, depending on how big you make them and how many you eat!

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Tin ’em up for serving

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Celebrate your hard work with a swig of the Good Guy

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Seth @ Boy Meets Food December 22, 2009 at 5:27 pm

FYI, I have done a bit of research on bourbon balls, and supposedly, they are not considered to be “real” KY Bourbon balls if they are made with vanilla wafers. I don’t know if you really care about that, but it’s just what I read (in multiple sources). BUT, I think yours look great, and as long as they taste good, I don’t think it really matters!


2 Carrie December 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

I just made these and they are awesome. Merry Christmas!


3 Mia February 4, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I love bourbon balls too! I’ve tried mixing brown rice syrup and agave nectar in place of your Bad Guy corn syrup. :)


4 Anita December 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm

These look like a superior quality vanilla wafers. Which brand did you use? Whole Foods maybe?


5 KathEats December 19, 2012 at 1:10 am

Trader joes. They are extra vanilla-y


6 David December 24, 2012 at 8:35 am

These are perfect. I use Nabisco vanilla wafer, their good and are sold in most food retailers. This year I’m going to switch the syrup with some local honey. Can’t Wait!


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