Bourbon Balls

Bourbon Balls

Part of the fun of The Gourmet Cookie Book (aside from the cookies, of course) is the wonderful insight into food fashions of years gone by. Take these Bourbon Balls for example—they were created to be served on a midnight buffet for New Year's Eve circa 1980. The menu for this particular soiree is fantastically dated—crab roulade, wild rice waffles, and mushroom smitane (if you're wondering about that last one, it's mushrooms cooked in a brown sauce with sour cream and onions). But even if the rest of this early '80s menu doesn't stand the test of time, the bourbon balls should.

They're a decidedly grown-up no-bake cookie. The dough is a mixture of bourbon macerated raisins, chopped pecans, and crushed chocolate wafer cookies spiced up with a warm mix of cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Since the dough isn't baked, the bourbon really has a chance to make its boozy presence known. I'd love to see these bourbon balls paired with a Manhattan or and old-fashioned for an updated version of Gourmet's midnight buffet.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Gourmet Cookie Book to give away this week.

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookie Book. Copyright © 2010. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:3 dozen cookies


  • 1/2 cup chopped raisins
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. 1.

    n a small bowl, let 1/2 cup chopped raisins macerate in 1/4 cup bourbon for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine well 2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs,1/2 cup each of firmly packed dark brown sugar and finely chopped pecans, the raisin mixture, 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and roll the balls in finely chopped pecans. Store the bourbon balls in an airtight container in a cool dark place for at least 1 week before serving.