Have a ball at your next holiday occasion with these fun, bite-size treats! They’re easy to make and incredibly rich and delicious. And, because it takes less than 30 minutes to make 20, they’re perfect for gifting.
8 to 10 minutes
Ingredients & equipment
- 1 cup (105 g) pecans, raw (see Chef’s Tips)
- ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar, packed
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) water
- 1 tsp (3 g) ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp (1 g) ground ginger
- ¼ tsp (1 g) cayenne pepper
- 2½ cups (413 g) graham cracker crumbs (see Chef’s Tips)
- 1 cup (120 g) Redpath® Icing Sugar
- ¼ cup (25 g) cocoa powder (see Chef’s Tips)
- ¼ tsp (2 g) salt
- ⅓ cup (83 ml) bourbon
- 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar
- Redpath® Icing Sugar
- Finely ground pecans
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Cocoa powder
- Baking sheets x 2
- Parchment paper
- Scale OR dry measuring cups
- Liquid measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Medium bowl x 2
- Small saucepan with lid
- Heatproof spatula OR wooden spoon
- Food processor fitted with the metal blade
- Plastic wrap
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pecans into a single layer over the sheet.
Place pecans into the preheated oven. Toast for 8 to 10 minutes or until pecans are golden and have a nutty aroma. Remove and transfer toasted nuts into a bowl to cool.
In a small saucepan, add the Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar, water, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves completely; 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir the bourbon and vanilla extract into the simple syrup. Cover saucepan to allow flavours to infuse.
Place the cooled pecan pieces into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse pecans until finely ground, scraping down the bowl as necessary; do not over-process, or the nuts may turn into nut butter. Add the graham cracker crumbs, the Redpath® Icing Sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Process until mixture is thoroughly blended.
Add the spiced brown sugar simple syrup into the food processor. Process until all the liquid is absorbed into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be slightly tacky to the touch. (see Chef’s Tips)
Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover, and place into the fridge; 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the flavours to meld and the bourbon to be absorbed by the graham cracker crumbs, making it easier to roll.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place desired garnishes, if using, into shallow dishes.
Portion the chilled mixture using a trigger-style scoop or use a spoon and scoop out walnut-sized portions and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
Roll each portion into a ball and leave as is or roll into desired garnish to coat. Place onto the prepared baking sheet and chill; 1 hour.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Bourbon balls can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or your favourite nuts can be used in place of the pecans.
*Graham cracker crumbs can be substituted with Speculoos cookies, chocolate wafers, vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, or animal cracker crumbs.
*Use black cocoa powder for an impressively dark bourbon ball. Replace all or half of the cocoa powder in the recipe with black cocoa powder. Note that black cocoa powder has a muted chocolate flavour compared to other cocoa powders. Alternatively, instead of replacing the cocoa powder in the recipe with the black cocoa powder, roll the bourbon ball in the black cocoa powder to achieve the dark colour.
*If the mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs at a time and process to incorporate. If the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon of water (or bourbon) at a time and process until the mixture feels slightly tacky and holds when squeezed together.
*If you find the bourbon flavour is too strong, store in an airtight container and allow the bourbon to “age” in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
*The bourbon used should be one that you enjoy drinking. Other spirits or liqueurs can be substituted for the bourbon if desired (eg. whisky, brandy, rum, amaretto).
*If Demerara® Style Sugar is unavailable, Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar or Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar can be substituted. Note that the resulting bourbon balls will have a less complex, earthy flavour, and caramel notes will be less pronounced.