From the old blog, November 2007. Apparently I was thinking about trying to make a fruitcake. Still haven’t.
Y’know, I never did make that brandy-drenched fruitcake I blogged about a week or two ago.
But I am already indulging in another established holiday favourite:
The bourbon ball.
Way back when, during my days in Massachusetts, I worked with an older lady we’ll call Agnes — not her real name, but an acceptable enough simulation for this purpose.
Agnes was sixtyish, perfectly amiable, rather dotty, somewhat professionally past her prime.
And every holiday she brought in batches of homemade bourbon balls that would stun an ox.
I am a robustly built adult male who is no stranger to bourbon … and I could only eat one of her holiday pastries at work, or else my head would start spinning gently and my work would begin to seem incidental and unimportant.
This is still a running joke between my wife and I, years later.
(She made sure to skip Agnes’s bourbon balls the Christmas she was pregnant. We conservatively estimated each ball contained the equivalent of 4.1 shots of the hard stuff.)
I make my own bourbon balls now.
They’re not as strong as Agnes’s, but they sure are forthright … because once you get used to that, it’s hard to go back.
I made my first batch of the year the other night.
They were supposed to “age,” but I’ve already got my fingers into them, and I just know I’m gonna have to make more if I expect to have any for Xmas.
The way I make them, they come out like bourbon fudge, with crispy little bits of nutmeat to break up the smoothness.
Aw, man; I just know I’m gonna have another once the kids go to sleep.
Here’s the recipe, in case anyone else wants to ride the love train:
1 cup crushed vanilla wafers (you want powder)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (again, I like ’em as small as I can possibly get ’em — not big chunks of nut)
2 tbsp cocoa
1 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup (you could use honey)
1/4 cup bourbon
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
Combine corn syrup and bourbon separately. Then mix it into the dry ingredients.
Form into balls. Roll in more powdered sugar (I don’t always do that) and chill.
They will seem sticky when you make ’em, and maybe a little less firmly coherent than you want, but if you let them chill a while they hold together nicely enough.
Have five or six and then you’ll seem sticky and incoherent.