I recently visited Few Spirits in Evanston and fell in love with their Bourbon Whiskey. The caramel notes pair perfectly with this rich, decadent dessert. Enjoy!

Watch for the full recipe, tips and a bit of Few Spirits History here: 

Yield: 30 bourbon balls
Bourbon Balls

Bourbon Balls

These bite-size confections contain bourbon and dark chocolate—the perfect marriage in my humble opinion. I first tried these during my high school days when my best friend's sister would make them at Christmas. And no, I was not 21. That made them even more special


  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (approximately 8 ounces)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar plus more for rolling
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ cup bourbon, such as Jack Daniel’s
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
Rum ball variation
  • 2½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup finely ground nuts or shredded coconut
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ cup Meyers rum (light or dark) or your favorite brandy
  • Extra cocoa or finely ground instant coffee, for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet pan. Bake for 3 minutes. Using a heat-resistant spatula, stir pecans and bake for another 3 minutes. Stirring the pecans ensures even roasting.
  2. In a food process, pulse vanilla wafers into crumbs. Measure out 2 cups. Use additional wafers as needed to make 2 cups. Add pecans to crushed wafers in the food processor. Pulse to a fine mixture. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ¼ cup cocoa powder and 2 cups confectioner’s sugar. Add corn syrup and bourbon.
  3. Finish the balls: Sift remaining ¼ cup cocoa with ¼ cup of remaining confectioners’ sugar onto a piece of waxed paper or a large mixing bowl. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture and form into ¾-inch balls. Roll balls in cocoa-sugar mixture to coat. Continue with remaining crumb mixture. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks. When ready to serve, dust with remaining ½ cup confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Rum Ball Variation: Combine the first four ingredients and mix well. Add the corn syrup and rum or brandy and mix to incorporate. Roll about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into a ball. Continue with the remaining mixture. Roll the cookies in cocoa powder or instant coffee. Store in an airtight container for up to two week.
Did you make this recipe?
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December 16, 2021 — Mary DiSomma
Tags: coconut