This recipe is from my Grandmother’s recipe box, titled in her elegant script as “Joyce’s Bourbon Delight”.
I have no idea who Joyce is (my grandmother was Elaine) but these little boozy bites are, quite simply, delightful. So thanks to Joyce, whoever/wherever she may be, for sharing this aptly-named recipe with my grandmother and in turn allowing me to share them with you.
It must be a Southern thing, this bourbon delight, or what many call bourbon balls.
I’ve encountered two kinds of bourbon balls during my time in the South, one being the kind sold by professional candy makers and bourbon distilleries, snappy chocolate with a creamy fondant center thoroughly infused with bourbon.
The other kind, the kind I’ve heard from countless friends and neighbors that their grandmothers used to make… that’s what these are. No professional candy-making skills required, just some vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped nuts, melted chocolate, and a generous glug of bourbon. Simply swap Joyce’s name for your own grandmother’s and my guess is they’ll taste just like you remember.
(As to why these lovely Southern grannies were feeding children bourbon-spiked candies on special occasions, I’m not quite sure about that one…)
I’d describe the texture of these like a rustic cookie dough, with crunchy bits of granular sugar and chopped pecans, with a hint of cocoa and more than a generous splash of bourbon.
Grandma’s recipe says they can be rolled into balls or shaped into crescents and rolled in powdered sugar or coated with coconut and topped with chopped peanuts (which I find odd since the filling is either pecan or walnut).
I went with a ball-shaped and used 3 different coatings, including powdered sugar (you could also use cocoa powder), as well as grated coconut and chocolate sprinkles. The later two were trickier, since the dough was soft but not necessarily sticky, and, especially as it cooled, the coconut and chocolate didn’t want to stick to it like you’d expect. I ended up dabbing my palms with a bit of corn syrup as I shaped the balls, then rolled them in the sprinkles/coconut to help it stick.
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