bourbon balls

I miss my old Kentucky home in one way or another every single day. I miss the people. I miss the porch swings. I miss how the air smells like someone tossed tree bark, fresh-cut grass, apple peel, bourbon and a hint of mint into a mason jar, shook it all up together and then poured it onto the clouds. I miss Kentucky the most around the holidays and lucky for me I get to take a road trip south in a few weeks. Until then, you can find me in my teeny tiny Brooklyn kitchen, rolling up and devouring more chocolate bourbon balls than you thought humanly possible.

Remember when I said you can never have too much bourbon in your food?

I meant that.

Bourbon Balls
Ganache recipe adapted from The Vegan Chef.
Makes approximately 32 large balls (2 inches diameter)

Bourbon Ball ingredients

  • 1 cup fine animal cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (plus more to sprinkle on top later if you choose)
  • 1.5 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 24 oz vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup+ of bourbon
  • 1.5 tbsp light corn syrup

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 12 oz. vegan chocolate

The bourbon ball recipe that I’ve used for years includes Nilla wafers, which unfortunately aren’t vegan. The solution? Animal crackers!

Most animal crackers are vegan but be sure to read the ingredients list just in case. I picked up a tub of them at Trader Joe’s and, after eating a few handfuls, measured out a couple of cups and poured them into a sandwich bag.

For this part you probably want to use two bags since tears are likely when you’re smashing the crap out of your crackers.

You could also use a food processor for this part, but what fun is that?

You want the crumbs to be fine but don’t worry too much if a few big crumbs end up in the mix.

Melt your chocolate chips and combine the chocolate, animal cracker crumbs, chopped pecans, 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and light corn syrup into one bowl.

Stir until ingredients are combined.

Pour the bourbon in last, starting with 1/4 cup and adding more to your liking. You can separate the batch at this point, adding more bourbon to one batch and less to another if you have friends that prefer their bourbon balls to sting a little when they bite into them. I have friends like that. They like a good challenge.

Sprinkle some of the leftover confectioners sugar onto your hands so that the balls won’t stick to your fingers when you’re trying to roll them up.

At this point, you can choose to be finished if you want simple bourbon balls that taste awesome and look like powdered orbs of happiness. Refrigerate them for at least 24 hours before serving. 2-3 days is the preferable refrigeration period, but I’ve served them after chilling them for only 2 hours and they’ve still tasted great.

If you want to use a ganache to fancy up your bourbon balls, try this.

Remove the bourbon balls from the refrigerator and wait until they’re room temperature, or pretty close to it, to make the ganache.

Heat the Earth Balance and milk on low until it all melts together. Add the chocolate and stir continuously until melted. You can also use a double boiler.

Stick toothpicks, lollipop sticks, coffee stirrers that you stole from Starbucks or whatever else you have sitting around into the balls. Dip into the chocolate ganache and transfer to a dish lined with parchment paper. Remove the sticks, allow the bourbon balls to harden for 5 minutes and then decorate. Store your pretty bourbon balls in the refrigerator and remove an hour or so before you’re ready to serve them.

Oh and also…

Keep an eye on those remaining animal crackers!

15 thoughts on “bourbon balls

  1. I have never thought to use animal craker crumbs in bourbon balls, but it sounds like a great idea, since their light flavor would allow other flavors to shine through. These look beautiful and delicious :)!

  2. I am really looking forward to the tolerant vegan coming home to make all these great things for Christmas.

  3. where in the process do the finely chopped pecans go in? it is not in your explaination I assume with the crushed crackers and all the rest?

    • Debbie, thank you so much for pointing that out! You’re right, they go in at the same time as everything else. Post revised :)

  4. Must. Make. Bourbon. Balls. I have been craving them ever since I first had one in my pre-vegan life. Made with other types of sweet crackers/cookies or regular perhaps? Is this allowed for Kentucky authenticity?

  5. These do look like some delicious bourbon balls I have to say. HOWEVER…we don’t need no stinking cookies in our bourbon balls. 😉

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