fudgy bourbon balls Recipes

fudgy bourbon balls

I closed out 2014 somewhat exasperated (and quietly anxious and queasy because I was first trimester-ing this bunny) that I had so much I’d wanted to cook and tell you about that year but couldn’t fabricate the time. Then I added a new tiny wonderful human to the mix and needless to say, the song has not changed. So, I’m going retune it. It’s better to have too many ideas than too few, after all, I’m sure there will be a time when these kids don’t call (sob) and the apartment is finally clean and organized and there are no items left on my tumbling to-do list when I’ll maybe even miss the chaos the chaos of feeling like I was barely keeping afloat. Plus, seriously, this was such an unquestionably excellent year, from impending babies, actual babies, missing front teeth, a new weekly digest newsletter, and even crazy milestones, like the 1000th recipe on this site (my favorite cocktail, go make yourself one, I’ll wait). How could I want to change a thing?

Most Popular Smitten Kitchen Recipes of 2015: Savory

2015 sk most popular savory

  1. mushroom marsala pasta bake
  2. my ultimate chicken noodle soup
  3. obsessively good avocado cucumber salad
  4. tomato and fried provolone sandwich
  5. baked chickpeas with pita chips and yogurt
  6. oat and wheat sandwich bread
  7. oven-braised beef with tomatoes and garlic
  8. broccoli cheddar soup
  9. perfect corn muffins
  10. zucchini rice and cheese gratin
  11. spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs
  12. cornmeal-fried pork chops + smashed potatoes
  13. caramelized onion and gruyère biscuits
  14. takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber
  15. herbed summer squash pasta bake
  16. fake shack burger

Most Popular Smitten Kitchen Recipes of 2015: Sweet

2015 sk most popular sweet recipes

  1. pecan pie
  2. salted chocolate chunk cookies
  3. the ‘i want chocolate cake’ cake
  4. key lime pie
  5. carrot graham layer cake
  6. butterscotch pudding
  7. salted peanut butter cookies
  8. liège waffles
  9. black bottom oatmeal pie
  10. pull-apart rugelach
  11. very blueberry scones
  12. cannoli pound cake
  13. crispy peach cobbler
  14. strawberry cornmeal griddle cakes
  15. the browniest cookies
  16. chocolate chunk granola bars

I’m excited about 2016. It’s the year (I’m writing it here, so you all better hold me to it), I’m going to start reading books again, and not just The New York Times, The New Yorker and every terrible thing anyone has ever linked to from Facebook. And it’s the I’m going to finally finish the next Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, the one that’s been bumping about in my head for way too long. What’s on your agenda? May I suggest you mull it over with some chocolate sprinkled pretties on hand?

my chocolate cookie options were sparse

My mother-in-law has often told me that her coworker makes the best rum balls for their holiday party. Yes, rum balls, that holiday party staple from the 1960s, things that we thought went the way of bellbottoms and turtlenecks under dinner jackets. I figured they were just a giddy little way for people who need their booze cloaked in layers of sugary dessert to hit the sauce, and thus were not my thing until she plopped one in my hand week and I had to hold myself back from eating three more. Guys, please let’s make these a thing again.

a roll in the sprinkly deep
plus some apple juice balls ;)

Of course, I ended up mashing her recipe up with one that had caught my eye from Melissa Clark. Clark uses chocolate cookie crumbs instead of the usual vanilla wafers and bourbon instead of rum, which I think we already knew I was going to. Her recipe uses honey instead of the usual corn syrup, but I couldn’t resist using molasses because the flavor is so grand against that chocolate and bourbon. As I’ve already sung the praises of black cocoa powder once this month, I’ll spare you, but I couldn’t resist slipping it in here because things are the pitch of Oreos are always more welcome than things that are not.

chocolate bourbon balls

The result is like a sip of bourbon, a brownie and a chocolate truffle ran away together, and rolled in the shimmery sprinkly deep, are 100% more dressed up for a party that I’ll manage to be by 8 p.m. tonight. Plus, they’re no-bake and keep exceptionally well (and even get better with age, should they be ignored long enough to actually rest, i.e. I suspect this theory has never been tested); I’m so taken with the brilliance of these retro treats, I’m wondering what else we should be reconsidering from the 1960s in the new year. Pillbox hats, definitely.

chocolate bourbon balls

More New Year’s Eve Party Snack Ideas: Over here.
More New Year’s Eve Cocktail Ideas: Over here.

Fudgy Bourbon Balls
Adapted from Melissa Clark

Makes about 42 with a 1 tablespoon scoop

2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs or about 260 grams chocolate cookies
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons honey or molasses
Sprinkles, sanding or coarse sugar, additional chopped nuts, extra cookie crumbs or coconut to roll balls in

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the cookies, whole or already in crumbs, and pecans until the nuts are finely ground. In small dish, whisk together the bourbon, powdered sugar, cocoa and honey until smooth. Add to the food processor bowl and pulse until just combined.

Set aside at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or up to 4 hours, to give the crumbs a chance to absorb the liquid and become more fudgy and easier to roll.

Scoop dough into about 1-inch or 1 tablespoon-sized balls and roll them in toppings of your choice. The balls can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. If at room temperature, you can leave them covered for more moisture or uncovered if you like them with more of a crust. Balls will keep for as long as you can hide them from people.

Notes: I’m going to do a little Q&A with the comment section that lives in my head. :)

  • Can I make these with gluten-free cookies? Probably.
  • Can I make these without nuts? There are many nut-free rum ball recipes on the web to get you started, or, I’m sure you can fudge these a bit with extra crumbs to balance the missing nuts.
  • Can I make these without alcohol? Absolutely, in fact, I made 1/3 of these (the ones with colored sprinkles) with apple juice. Other liquids that might work, should you not have a 6 year-old who would be rather infuriated if sprinkle-covered balls of chocolate were given to everyone but him as your intended audience, coffee, strong black tea, a favorite juice, etc.
  • Nabisco Chocolate Wafers are impossible to find! Yes, they are. There’s always Amazon, but those prices are insane. A bodega in my neighborhood sells these Leibniz chocolate cookies, which I used instead, but of course any plain chocolate cookie will do. This sound insane, but for a homemade option, the cookie portion of these Oreos is unbelievably easy to make in the food processor and you could have them going into the oven 15 minutes from now, with the bonus of have a surplus of excellent chocolate sugar cookies when you’re done.
  • That’s a lot of booze, Deb! Yes, it is. My MIL’s uses more like 1/4 cup for a pleasant kick of spirits. This is more assertive, although my testers assured me, not unwelcome. Should you wish to halve it, you’ll want to hold back on the cookie crumbs to adjust. Start with half and add more until you get a good thick consistency.
  • Where’d you get those sprinkles? I showed exactly zero restraint on my most recent trip to NY Cake and Baking on 22nd Street. This was the result.
  • Can’t I just roll these in powdered sugar, as the original recipe suggests? In my opinion? No. The result was damp and slippery and would need to be re-rolled on the regular to keep a pretty finish. Go with something with more texture and it will hang on longer.

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96 comments on fudgy bourbon balls

  1. Brittany L.

    My favorites this year have been the salted peanut butter cookies, the gingerbread cake (an absolute hit this Christmas!), the pull apart rugelach, the pecan pie and the browniest cookies! I just realized I’ve baked far more of your new recipes in the latter half of this year. Oh well, it’s been a delicious journey, thank you consistently making me look like a baking goddess.

    Happy New Year to you and yours, Deb!

    PS I’m making th tangy brisket for dinner tonight and can barely contain myself!

  2. Kelsey

    My contribution to the Great Chocolate Wafer Scarcity debate- I use the chocolate cat cookies from Trader Joe’s in recipes that call for chocolate wafer cookies and they work like a charm. (Most recently in the chocolate silk pie from the SK cookbook!)

  3. Brittany L.

    How could I forget your kale stuffing and the fake shack. I live in Los Angeles and they’re FINALLY opening a couple Shake Shack’s here. Well, it doesn’t matter because I highly doubt it’ll taste anywhere near as good as the homemade ones with my favorite local butchers blend of ground beef.

    You truly spoil us Deb! Thanks again for all your meticulous recipe testing, my little home kitchen just wouldn’t smell the same without you :)

  4. Ellie

    Looking forward to another year cooking with you, Deb! I have to share a personal victory I’ve had as a result of following your blog. When I first started cooking, I used mostly my mother’s tried-and-true recipes and techniques (still do). In college, I started to follow your blog and your recipes have been a go-to for me ever since. This year, my mom started to follow your blog as well, and has loved your recipes. Thanks for a thousand ideas to contribute to family gatherings and a chance continue the tradition of sharing and handing down our favorites!

  5. I particularly love your pull-apart rugelach which is on my to-do list. My best friend’s birthday is coming up soon and I would love to make it for her party. I thought these will be fantastic for sharing.
    These bourbon balls are so pretty! I love your party food ideas especially! I wish you a fab 2016!

  6. frances

    I make these every year from a recipe my mom says her mom got maybe from 1958 bhg or some such. retro or not, people start asking around october if I’ll be making them soon. I use vanilla wafers… Honestly, I never even thought of chocolate ones, though it’s so obvious! Maybe it’s time for another batch. I doubt I’ll lack for testers.

  7. Maureen

    Brilliant! I make these almost every year, with bourbon, for my mother-in-law who is very fond of them. My recipe is from a baker in at The New York Hospital whose claim to fame was having baked a birthday cake for Marilyn Monroe. So retro, indeed.

    I will try them with chocolate biscuits and molasses. And fancy sprinkles. Oo la la.

  8. Michelle

    I have sadly only made 4 of your most popular 2015 recipes, but I’ve pinned most of them. May 2016 be the year that I try them all! Thank you for continuing to share your recipes. I love this site.

  9. My favourite this year were definitely the salted peanut butter cookies! I’ve been meaning to make a pie for ages and now and seeing as the pecan pie is on top of the sweets list, I’ll have to give that a try :D

  10. SallyT

    LOVE your Q&A (as opposed to FAQ) – I bet you anticipated MANY of the questions that people would have asked. HAPPY NY! I can’t believe how many of your recipes I’ve made…

  11. Meeghan

    I recently subbed HoneyMaid chocolate graham crackers for the chocolate wafer cookies in a chocolate cream pie for Christmas. Good results!

  12. Christine

    Happy New Year Deb! You are the only blogger whose recipes I trust to turn out perfectly every single time. Every time I bring something cooked from your website I get rave reviews. Thanks so much for hosting such an interesting, reliable, and delicious food blog!

  13. Lauren

    As “something from the ’60’s” myself ( not born in -I wish- but was a teenager in) I can say that there was a lot of stuff back then, the recently revived Date Bars, these Bourbon Balls… that were so tasty and easy to make that I think a reprise of some other goodies is well overdue.There were a number of savory things that hit their zenith then too. Hope your 2016 “rocks” because if you are happy, we are well fed and happy too.

  14. Sarah M.

    Deb, I still dream about that key lime pie (and the corresponding popsicles) and am counting down the days until it warms up just enough to make them again. We had your lentil soup with sausage for the first time last night (omg, YUM) and I’m making the tarte soleil to share with friends tonight. Thanks for keeping us well-fed this whole year; best wishes to you and your family in 2016!

    I also wanted to share this recipe from the WSJ that you may have seen. I ate some that a friend had made and they were EXCEPTIONAL. It tasted like black cocoa powder was used (but it wasn’t!). Super chocolate-y, crunchy, though definitely a shortbread, and different from your brownie roll-out cookies.

  15. Martin

    The Leibniz cookies are named for the mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and you share surname with mathematician Grigori Perelman. And you made spheroid candy. This post is wonderfully mathematical.

  16. You are amazing. Your recipes are always reliable and we can count on you for quality. Thank you for a great 2015 and looking forward to reading more of your witty words and discovering more delicious recipes in 2016!

  17. Leah

    If anyone is really chomping at the bit to roll them in powdered sugar, try rolling them in granulated sugar first. Another cookie recipe (that I love!) calls for this treatment, and the powdered sugar both stays dry and sticks to the cookie without falling all over the place.

  18. Nicole R.

    My dad has made bourbon balls at Christmas every year for as long as I can remember (except, much to my chagrin, this year, so I might still make some). He makes a metric ton a few weeks before the holidays to give as gifts to everyone who’s ever smiled at him, so I can tell you that they do indeed age well. He always rolls them in powdered sugar and they stay looking great and do just fine but of course that’s his recipe, not yours. I like his but I may have to try the chocolate cookies…

  19. I didn’t realize rumballs weren’t a thing! My mum has always made them, and they’re always delicious. She does chocolate ones always, why bother with vanilla cookies?

  20. Pam

    OMG. I love rum balls. I will love chocolate bourbon balls. And sprinkles! The 1000th recipe on the site is awesome.

    P.S. That bunny is so damn adorable. She made me forgot about chocolate for moment.

  21. Debby

    You inspired me! So far this was really easy and still smells amazing. Win/win. I’m using chocolate Teddy Grahams and the sprinkles multi-pack from the grocery store… so far so good!

  22. Julie

    Love going to NY Cake & Baking. Need to go with a budget for how much I’m willing to spend or I’m in trouble. Your pull apart rugelach were by far the best sweet thing I made this year. I also got high praise for those from a Jewish friend ;)
    Love this blog, your “voice” and every recipe you do! Excited for your next book!!

  23. Erica

    I cannot believe that the Not Derby Pie Bars are not on the most popular list…my mom is still raving about those! :)

    Love the variety of sprinkles on the balls… Happy new year!

  24. KJ

    I save quite a few of your recipes and none of the ones you listed did I save. Of course I probably am an outlier, I still haven’t made Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks. Maybe this year. :)

  25. Alice

    When I was a young military wife in Georgia (in the 70’s), I made rum and bourbon ball every year and somehow not only had the discipline to let the age a mandatory month, but went in every day and used an eyedropper to a just a smidge more booze to each and every ball.

  26. Jessie

    I made these tonight and they are fabulous! I had to improvise a bit, and used chocolate graham crackers and a mix of whisky and cognac. No complaints here. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes, and happy new year!

  27. Happy New Year, Deb! Thank you for another amazing year of inspiring cooking and making me laugh – I love when those two things work together! :)

    I can’t wait for your second book. Book #1 is on the counter and heavily food-stained, as it should be.

  28. Susan

    Ok, I stopped reading after I clicked on this “bunny.” I was gob-smacked by cuteness overload and want to bake one of those, but… my oven doesn’t work anymore. Sigh. You shall just have to continue to post bunny pics so I can tousle those locks vicariously. That one lil’ moppet pic will keep me happy all day.

  29. Susan

    You can sometimes find the elusive Nabisco Chocolate Wafers by the ice cream aisle around the toppings and such in the supermarket. These look so awesome. Going to the market now….

  30. Jean

    These were a holiday staple in our house when I was growing up. I don’t think my mom cared if her child tasted bourbon once a year. (Not when the cough suppressant of choice was a spoonful of whiskey mixed with lemon and sugar!). I think it’s time to bring them back, definitely! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes, Deb!

  31. Susan Cavenagh

    We(my daughter and I) love your blog – just made your Lasagna for Christmas Eve, but this is really a Bourbon Ball comment: I will try the chocolate wafer variation. My mother in law made Bourbon Balls for years and used pound cake which she made herself. I buy it and let it stale – made 10 dozen for our church’s cookie walk recently. My husband “amends” the bourbon each day or so, as pound cake really soaks up the bourbon. I roll them in vanilla sugar and then wrap each one in a tiny, perky foil package. I make them every year, but am disappointed that not everyone loves them. My thanks for your recipes, as always.

  32. Amy Mac

    Oh dear Lord, now I’m going to have to make these immediately. Even though I put everyone in a delirious sugar coma this past week with that insane Gramercy Tavern gingerbread cake (a metric ton of Baker’s Joy and it didn’t stick — it was AMAZING!) and that puff pastry star of deliciousness (made with Nutella and dipped in salted bourbon caramel). Stop it, Deb. I’m not going to have any pants that fit pretty soon.

  33. Chelsea

    I make your salted chocolate chunk cookies weekly!! We always have the dough in the freezer and ready to go. They are my favorite thing ever. Happy New Year!

  34. SallyO

    Ah rum balls, my favorite Christmas treat. My mom had a friend back in the early 70s who made them every year. I couldn’t wait to go visit and get my share. When I got old enough to make them I found a recipe which has been kept for over 30 years. It’s old and has been re-written a dozen times on “fresh” recipe cards. It uses graham crackers as it’s cookie bas and cocoa for the chocolate part. I’m gonna have to try this now and compare to the way old school recipe I still make today. Thank you for a year’s worth of fab recipes and great stories, looking forward to next year. Also, that bunny, is no bunny. It is a perfect little ginger snap. Seriously, what gorgeous little girl, too cute for words!!

  35. Marcia

    Should you be heading to the east end soon, all the local IGA supermarkets have Nabisco chocolate wafers in abundance. You can stockpile !

  36. Erin

    Deb: thank you for your wonderful content, year after year. You are always my first go-to for any cooking idea/inspiration/recipe, and I feel like we’re friends (even though you obviously have no idea who I am). Please know that you’re a part of most of my weekday dinners and all of my dinner parties:) Happy new year!

  37. What a treat to see a “rum ball revival” here… I have been making rum balls for decades now, they were a family holiday treat when I was young umpteen decades ago, and we ate them as children with no harm at all. My family recipe is slightly different in that it calls for melting chocolate, adding sour cream, and then mixing in the cookie crumbs and alcohol. When growing up it was always vanilla wafers, and Meyers Dark Rum, and rolling the finished balls in cocoa powder. Recently I have branched out and tried making whiskey balls with our local McMenamins Hogshead whiskey. At times I have used either graham cracker, or other plain cookies for the cookie portion of the recipe, and for the last several years I have also used Pamela’s gluten free shortbread, so all my friends can enjoy them. Their pecan shortbread works particularly well

  38. ellabee

    Bourbon balls never went away here. The shiny sprinkles are very uptown and New Year’s Eve!

    Other recs for bringing back from the sixties: tomato aspic (not vegetable-flavored jello, not with sliced stuffed olives or other foolishness, but cloudy, tomato-y, and fairly soft — perfect with deviled eggs and ham biscuits).

  39. Trudy

    Hi! We ate your Kale and Carmelized Onion Dressing for Christmas and it was amazing! It’s my new favorite and I want to print it out, but I have been unable to access the recipe for the last few days. I get an error message that tells me to check back later. Hope it’s not gone forever. Thank you for sharing such delicious recipes and Happy New Year!

  40. Mels

    From the lists above I’ve made the corn muffins, I want chocolate cake, rugelach, and the browniest cookies. All were amazing! I’ve made lots of other recipes from Smitten too, including ones from the cookbook and am always pleased with the outcome! Thanks for all you do Deb and looking forward to 2016!

    P.S. These bourbon balls are getting make this week, albeit sans alcohol, but I am sure they will still be delicious. Going to try chai tea in them instead I think!

  41. Mary

    Where do you buy Choc Liebnez cookies. My husband’s favorite and cannot find them anymore.
    Made your tarte de soleil with nutella and chocolate. Impressive and fabulous

  42. Ha, when you list it out I realize how often you’re the default for me when I’m looking to try a new recipe. Plus that cannoli cake has become the basis for every pound cake I make now.

    And yay for your second cookbook! I started a cookbook club in November and 17 of us are cooking out of your first cookbook next weekend. It should be quite the feast :-)

  43. Amanda

    Interesting. I’d never heard of a rum ball. My great aunt Sally makes bourbon balls, which are not particularly solid, which is to say that they are a thing of beauty. I’d never gotten the recipe, though, so these are tempting.

  44. Christine

    These balls *snicker* look fantastic!

    Also, for reading – kindle hooked up on my iphone in combination with borrowing e-books from my public library (holla Philadelphia! I’m sure New York’s is even better) changed my reading life. Also, I last year I set myself a reading goal on Goodreads and after reducing it to be more reasonable – 35 instead of 50, due to some life things that were going on, I used it to keep me motivated.

  45. Lillie

    Love the post, Deb! Are there any other types of nuts that would work for this recipe? (My boyfriend is not a huge fan of pecans.) Thanks!

  46. deb

    Other nuts — Yes, you could use walnuts, almonds or any other nut you like.

    The platter — It’s from Emile Henry. Looks like this but in white.

    Christina — Wow, thank you!

    Mary — I don’t know where you are but I bought them at a bodega on 9th and 2nd Avenue. However, it was only when I was throwing away the packaging I saw that they’d expired in 2014. NYC bodegas always keep it classy.

    Debbi — Sure, it’s her coworker’s recipe, not hers, not this terribly matters but it means I know less about the origin. 1 cup crushed vanilla wafers + 1 powdered sugar + 1 tablespoon cocoa + 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans + 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup and granulated sugar to roll them in. As you can see, I’m very good at following recipes. :)

    Downtime this past weekend — Unfortunately, we had a lot of it. Our server’s database center had ongoing DDOS attacks and it was very frustrating for everyone. It seems to be (hopefully) all cleared up now. Thanks for your patience, in the meanwhile.

  47. ruthy in vt

    These look gorgeous! Now NY Cake is added to my list of places to go. We are visiting in mid February and staying in the West 20’s. Any suggestions of delicious places to eat in that general area? Bonus points if a) it’s an appealing place to take an almost-2-year-old who doesn’t sit quietly in her high chair and/or b) the take-out option is just as good. Thanks!

  48. Linda

    Deb, please please…. we need rum balls too. They are so hard to find and I would love a recipe to make some. :) Happy New Year!

  49. These are gorgeous! I’m sick with envy!!! I too made bourbon balls this year (before I saw your recipe!) because I love the 60’s (and 70’s) and I love to bake and cook, and I thought it would be fun to send homemade love gifts this year. They were delicious (I also used a rum balls recipe and subbed out rye, cuz hi, rye!), but now I must try yours. Holiday treats redux! Tight pants be d*mned! Anyway, just wanted to say that Famous chocolate wafers also work great for the chocolate cookie portion of the recipe AND they’re awesome and remind me of the desserts my mom used to make in the 70s.

  50. Carol

    I’m wondering if I could substitute the golden syrup I bought for your AMAZING pecan pie for the molasses. I have always made bourbon balls with the original Joy of Cooking recipe. They’re good but these sound even better!

  51. Kate

    Sorry, question from an (ignorant) Canadian here. Is icing sugar the same as powdered sugar? Or is it caster sugar? These look stunning.

  52. I totally hacked these with the ladyfingers that were going bad in my cabinet and they came out — interesting. Not very chocolately (no surprise) and not very sticky. I did mostly figure out how to shape them with a half-spherical half-teaspon, a finicky job. But since I didn’t follow the recipe, flaws are not your fault, and I did enjoy fiddling with them. I’ll try again some time with cookies that are less stiff and dry.

  53. Liz

    In the early 80’s I worked in a bakery. All week long any extra pastries of any kind were thrown on a sheet on top of the ovens to dry. On Saturday before the Farmer’s Market where we would set up a booth all of these would be ground up fine, then mixed with rum extract (seeing as you need a license to sell alcohol) and real high quality buttercream made from scratch, then rolled as you described. We sold a ton of these and used up waste. They sold better after we raised the price, thus goes psychology.

  54. Jay

    Thanks for this delicious looking recipe. I’m looking forward to trying it. However, I have to say I loved your Q&A section! Especially since as I was reading the recipe I felt reluctant to ask what could be substituted for the alcohol and there was the answer in your Q&A section! Made me laugh. Thanks again.

  55. Katherine

    I made these with brandy instead of the bourbon, but didn’t otherwise mess with the recipe. My goodness they are boozy!

    For other Australians playing at home, I used choc ripple biscuits for the biscuit crumbs and they work a treat.

  56. Megan

    Do you think these would freeze well? I’d like to make in advance of a party and freeze them. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work…..

    1. deb

      Megan — I can’t think of any reason they wouldn’t freeze well. Not positive how well the sprinkles will stay on, but can always reroll if needed.

  57. Anna

    My personal favorite from 2015 was the crispy broccoli. I’ve made many of your recipes, but probably none more frequently than that one, which goes with everything!

  58. Gretchen

    Can confirm, these (or at least, my very similar rum balls) can be frozen. They’ll also keep in the fridge, but the sprinkles will get wonky in the fridge-condensation in your container, so hold off on rolling until day-of. So yeah, I’ve been making rum balls since at least the 1980s and they’re never not popular. I use Oreos as the cookie crumbs, dark rum, pecans or walnuts, and less sugar and liquid sweetener/binder (dark Karo syrup). I also dip them in chocolate confectioner’s coating.

    For the teetotalers, I have even had these without alcohol of any kind, which is fine too.

  59. Franci

    These freeze marvelously and get better with age. Of course, they rarely last that long. Try using Amaretto instead of rum. Amazing!

  60. Emily

    I just made these using almond meal and coffee-flavored rum. Mmmmmmmm! However since I used almond meal I kinda eyeballed the amount – I think I needed more, as they were a little too wet. Any chance you could add weights for the nuts at some point? Regardless, AMAZING!

  61. EmilyR123

    These fudgy bourbon ball look absolutely delicious! They seem like one of those desserts that could be for any situation and holiday. How do you usually decorate these to jazz them up?

  62. RA

    I can attest that these freeze well, and even better, defrost nicely! I defrosted mine in the fridge overnight, then kept at room temp during the day before serving, and they were great! Some of the turbinado sugar I used to roll them fell off, but the warmth of the bourbon held on, and the balls kept their shape. Love it!

  63. Sarah

    I made these for a friend’s birthday party this weekend and they were a huge hit! Only we know how easy they were, too (ok, everyone knows; I can’t keep a recipe this good to myself)! So fun to be able to decorate dessert in the theme colors for the party; I don’t usually go for that sort of thing, but in this case it was beautiful (and addictively tasty!).

  64. C

    bourbon question: Recently I tried a recipe for maple-bourbon poached salmon twice. The first time, I discovered I didn’t have any bourbon, then I tried it again with an inexpensive bourbon. I actually preferred the first — later, with the bourbon, there was a bitter edge and no compensating advantage. Do you think results would differ with a pricier bottle, or perhaps bourbon doesn’t suit me? When I tried a little straight, I didn’t taste anything other than alcohol.

    1. deb

      I feel like the words maple-bourbon poached may often sound better than they taste, especially because salmon isn’t going to bake very long so you’re not going to be left with a lingering oak-y scent of aged bourbon, but sharply alcoholic bourbon itself. It only sometimes works. Sure, Knob Creek is more harsh than Basil Haydens (some bourbon freaks are going to yell at me now) but I wouldn’t pay up just to make the recipe work. I do like a little bourbon the way you’d use vanilla in a cake or cookie or something that it seems to meld with better.

      1. C

        Interesting, thanks. It was a pretty small quantity, and on the stovetop (fairly brief, but not baked). Maybe I’ll just leave the bourbon out if I make it again, though.

  65. Deb, what are your favorite no-bake recipes? I am searching your site for inspiration as you’re a favorite for baking recipes, but I recently moved abroad to an apartment with no oven (the horror!) and am feeling a serious baking withdrawal.

    These look like good options, and there’s always the rice-krispy-treat and cake-in-a-mug-in-the-microwave genres. Any other tips/faves??

  66. Rebecca

    How do you think these would survive in a care package? They seem pretty structurally sturdy but I’m worried about melting or other unforeseen troubles that might occur during a mail trip. Maybe wrapping each in wax paper?

  67. Allison

    What quality alcohol do you use? I have a bottle of cheap whiskey I use for your jacked-up banana bread, and nicer whiskeys for drinking. Can I get away with using the cheap one, or will that ruin the fudgy balls?