bourbon balls

by Kristina Sloggett

in appetizers,cocktails,cookbook review,Dessert,Gluten Free,recipes,Vegan

“Club soda is a wonderful thing. You can use it to remove any stain, or mix it with gin and drink until you don’t care about the stain.”

Celebrity chefs? Immersion blenders? Who needs ‘em?

Gracing the back cover of the newest cookbook in my collection, that question definitely gives a glimpse of the fun within.

Quirk Books recently sent me a copy of Little Old Lady Recipes – Comfort Food and Kitchen Table Wisdom. This witty work is authored by Meg Favreau – writer, comedian, food enthusiast and eating contest winner who has been published by two of my favorites – Huffington Post and McSweeneys.

Meg serves up a side of sass with some old fashioned home cooking recipes – no food processors, no protein bars and no seaweed – “the only place seaweed should be is under my feet once a year when I go to the shore…”

“Never taste from the mixing spoon. Or at least don’t let anyone see you.”

Accompanied by photos of Little Old Ladies, sassy quotes and age-old advice, the recipes are classic comfort foods, just like grandma used to make.

From refrigerator pickles and ladies’ party punch to brown betty and grits, this takes me back to the kitchen of my own Grandma Z, and the humor makes it feel like Grandpa Z is there too

I chose a classic holiday favorite – bourbon balls!

bourbon balls

makes approximately 48 balls

1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup bourbon

The world is full of excuses; bourbon balls are an excuse to imbibe alcohol whole eating candy. This is a good kind of excuse.

Combine first four ingredients in a bowl and then add honey and bourbon; stir. Form into balls with your hands and roll in powdered sugar. Refrigerate before serving. 

(Recipe reprinted with permission from publisher)

I used agave in place of honey, and graham crumbs in place of vanilla wafers, making them vegan and gluten free. Bulleit is both!

This was my first time tasting a bourbon ball, and wow – they are really, very good. I have decided in place of Rescue Remedy, these are what I need to have with me for air travel.

These were so easy (I chopped with a knife, no food processor!) and they are wickedly delicious, and will definitely be on hand for the entire holiday season!

Have you ever enjoyed a bourbon ball?

What are your favorite old school classics?


{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather (Where's the Beach) November 16, 2011 at 6:19 am

LOL – in place of Rescue Remedy ;-) Does that work for you? We have used the pet version for Heath for storms. Anyway, my aunt used to make bourbon balls and they were just over the top strong – as in burn your mouth. So I’ve never tried them again. That cookbook sounds delightful.


2 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:25 am

oh, girl, I am such a bad flier… yes, I use it and it works – when I fly I take the spray, the chews (they’re good) and use them a lot. it really does calm… we use the pet version for Basil too, it does work, although it tends to make him sleepy so I don’t use it a lot. or a lot of it ;)


3 Heather (Where's the Beach) November 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

I take ativan for flying! But it can make really drowsy. Does the RR make you really groggy feeling? Definitely need to try that. Though I’m not sure Jason will fly with me if I don’t take the ativan.


4 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:41 am

haa – that is hilarious. (well, it made me laugh but I totally know…) ;) Rescue Remedy does NOT make me groggy at all – really – just VERY CALM. it’s nice. maybe take one with you, and bring the ativan as backup? does it take a while to work, or could you bring it if the RR doesn’t do enough? :)


5 Heather (Where's the Beach) November 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

The ativan works fairly quickly actually so I could take it as a backup if needed. Definitely going to give this a shot. Ativan is some serious sh&t. They only will give me the exact amt to get me to and from for vacations. Highly addictive (and I can see why LOL)

6 Curt November 16, 2011 at 6:22 am

Now this sounds like my kind of cookbook. I’m always looking for something different.

This is a great time of year when the adult snacks come out. Although, I’d have to use Rum, or anything but bourbon. When I was 13, I broke into my parent’s liquor cabinet and tried some bourbon. I got so insanely sick, I just can’t even look at a bottle of bourbon without feeling sick! :)


7 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

oh, yeah, I definitely understand that. rum should work! I have a bottle of chocolate vodka I might try as well…

this is a fun cookbook, I think you would enjoy it, Curt! fun gift idea, too.


8 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List November 16, 2011 at 6:32 am

Loved the seaweed comment. Touche!


9 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:22 am

haa, right? this book is filled with zingers.


10 Tandy November 16, 2011 at 6:40 am

Stunning photo! Good recipe and your review was fun as well, thanks for this!


11 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:22 am

thank you Tandy – I appreciate it! the book was fun to review, and this is a new favorite recipe to me!


12 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 16, 2011 at 6:41 am

Miss Bettie, please don’t take this the wrong way… but your balls look amazing. ;)

I have a feeling they will be making an appearance at my house this season!


13 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:21 am

haa – why thank you, Laura! ;) no offense taken! these made their appearance here, and declared they’ve taken up permanent residence!! um, or maybe I declared it


14 sam November 16, 2011 at 6:42 am

Bulleit is my favorite. Are you bringing these tonight (please??)


15 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

I could very easily!! :D I have a chocolate vodka I may try too… but I’ll bring bourbon! ;)


16 caitlin November 16, 2011 at 6:45 am

I agree, fun review I WANT THIS BOOK!! LOL I’ve not had a bourbon ball, I need to change this….


17 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

thanks, Caitlin – it’s a fun book to review, definitely! you DO need to change that – this was my first time having one too, and oh YUM. so good!


18 Anna @ On Anna's Plate November 16, 2011 at 7:01 am

I love old-fashioned cookbooks like that :-) Being from the South, all of the ideas and recipes in those cookbooks ring pretty familiar with me, haha.


19 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:16 am

yes, I bet they are familiar – some great stuff in the book. there’s a split pea soup recipe in there that I want to try… :D


20 Robin @ Blommi November 16, 2011 at 7:31 am

I haven’t made these in a couple years. I always used walnuts, but pecans seem a natural match with bourbon.


21 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:15 am

this was my first time making (and tasting) these – I love them! I bet the flavors are similar with walnuts, and yes, pecans seem to go with bourbon!


22 Jennie (the gf-gf) November 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

What an adorable name for a book! Sounds like a fun one.


23 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:11 am

it is fun – great classic recipes and some sassy fun quotes (many are actual good advice!) :D


24 bitt November 16, 2011 at 8:26 am

just curious how they got so blue? is the bourbon blue? i know nothing about alcohol.


25 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:10 am

hmmm, they are white on my screen? I suppose the photo has a bit of blue with the lighting (I don’t edit my photos much…) and with the darker color of the ball (brown from the pecans, graham and the bourbon, which is brown) with the white coating make it look that way?


26 katie November 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

Club soda is also good for mixing with riesling for a wine spritzer ; )

I think you really need a taste tester, and I qualify for the job!

xoxo <3


27 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:07 am

YES it is!! I’ve done that before with wine, a nice cool bubbly! you make me smile, Katie – that job is open and it’s yours, come on over!! you have to share SOME of the tasting duties with Basil… ;)


28 Allie November 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

Rumballs are a seasonal favorite, so I bet these are just as good! And that cookbook sounds adorable. As much as I do love my seaweed and protein powder, I love a good old fashioned recipe too :D


29 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

I’m sure these are similar to a rum ball… this was my first ‘boosy ball’ of any kind, and now I must make up for lost time! :D this book is really fun – yeah, I happen to love my protein, my seaweed AND my food processor… but I also love the classics! the humor is great, and the photos of all the Little Old Ladies are fun too!


30 Heather @ Better With Veggies November 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

Um – yes!!! I love bourbon balls and I can’t wait to enjoy this vegan-friendly recipe! I actually made some for my team for Christmas last year and they were a hit. Glad I can still make them this year. :)


31 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

was your recipe similar? all I had to change was the honey, really; I think most bourbon is vegan! :D (not all is gluten free, it seems, so I found was that was!) enjoy!!


32 Heather @ Better With Veggies November 17, 2011 at 7:00 am

You know – I’ll have to go back and find the last recipe – I honestly can’t remember. You’re probably right and there wouldn’t be many changes. :)


33 Nichole November 16, 2011 at 9:28 am

YUM! Move over sweaty choco balls! You were teasing me yesterday, my friends are going to LOVE this. I make the PB balls, but I need to up my game:) clearly


34 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 10:01 am

you NEED to make these! this was my first time ever having one, um, YUM. I’m making up for lost time over here


35 Lisa November 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

I can’t wait to make these!


36 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 9:59 am

oooh, Lisa they are SO good! you guys will love them… and they have a warming effect, another thing to like about winter!! :D


37 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 16, 2011 at 10:53 am

bourbon balls are an excuse to imbibe alcohol whole eating candy = YES!!!!

I said about my dark rum oatmeal raisin cookies last week…if you can’t decide between a drink or dessert, you could have these.

I love the looks of the bourbon balls. PERFECT. Sometimes cooking with alcohol leaves a really runny dough and it’s hard to get it all to congeal and solidify..these look perfect. I guess the crackers and nuts soak it all up. YUM!


38 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

yeah, there isn’t enough alcohol to make it runny, in relation to the other amounts… these are SO good! :)


39 Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) November 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

And if it’s too wet, you can just suck some of the bourbon out of the batter- just don’t let anyone see you :-)


40 Char @ November 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Hahaha, I love the quotes in this! And I have yet to try making rum (or bourbon) balls, but I used to loooove them! Thanks for posting a vegan (sans honey) recipe! :)


41 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

you are very welcome! this is a fun book, if you like the quotes I shared, you’d love it – there are many more!


42 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen November 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

The best part about bourbon balls is that they get better with time :)


43 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Mmm… yep! if they last that long… ;)


44 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) November 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

As a kid I tried bourbon balls, but I don’t remember much about them…now I HAVE to make them! I want to try a kahlua version! These are definitely making an appearance at my next gathering!


45 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Jason got me a bottle of chocolate vodka a while ago, and I haven’t opened it yet – I think I’m going to try that! and yeah, I saw some Bailey’s back there too… I HAVE to try that! :D


46 STUFT Mama November 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I have never had a bourbon ball and never thought they sounded good…. until NOW! Holy yum. I may have to buy my first ever bottle of bourbon. :) And you better beleive I’m going to lick that darn spoon. ha! Spabettie you are magnificent!
I have way too many old school classics to list…. I have a sweet tooth problem. :)


47 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

yeah, I’m not a bourbon drinker, so… this was my first time too, and I LOVE them! oooh so good! you could buy a couple little airplane bottles? that’s what I was going to do, but we had some because Jason drinks it occasionally! heck YEAH lick that spoon – the best part of making these was the sampling! ;)


48 Christin@purplebirdblog November 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm

These sound great!… but I would just have to have Balls, sans bourbon. Luckily the rest of those ingredients sound magical together as well! :)


49 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

haa, that’s awesome, just… balls. ;) you could use (some) vanilla in place of (part!) of the bourbon? and use hmm… some other liquid as needed? but YES, they would be good as … just balls. :D


50 Christin@purplebirdblog November 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm

And incredibly giggleworthy as just balls! BALLS!!


51 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I love you.


52 Dorry November 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Little Old Ladies, Bourbon and BALLS. This post is going to attract some eccentric visitors to Spabettie. hahaha. These look delicious. My grandmother makes all sorts of old treats – including fruitcake! I think I prefer the balls. :)


53 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

ha! I didn’t THINK of that, I’ll have to pay attention to the searches soon… ;) ew, fruitcake!! the poor holiday weirdo nobody wants… I’ve never even tried it, it just sounds so… yick! :D these are really good, I’m so glad I chose to make them (I really didn’t know if I’d like them…)


54 Cara November 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Balls. snickering. Why do I turn into an immature 12 year old boy anytime I hear this word? Oh, Grow up, Cara. But these liquored-up balls really do sound good (still giggling as I write this). I’m loving the concept of this cookbook–can’t wait to read it! And….can’t wait to see YOUR cookbook. Seriously, CONGRATS! How incredible for you! xo


55 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

tee hee. everyone loves a good ball. GEEZ. ;) but seriously, these are SO good! and… um… I’m a little confused. while I have wanted to write a cookbook for YEARS (way before the website…), I don’t currently have plans to? was it the sentence “…back cover of my newest cookbook?” oops, that meant THIS one. anyway, I changed the wording there. if you heard it somewhere else, like from a publisher? hello? hello? ;) then let me know… ;)


56 Cara November 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Son of a b! You tricked me :) Or my eyes did the tricking, seeing that I am an old woman these days (I should have been added to the Old Ladies’ Cookbook. ha!) I remember you saying several posts back that a lot of exciting things are in the works for you so I just assumed here. Then again, I wouldn’t really be surprised one bit to hear you are doing your own cookbook. I will write to my publisher to get on it! <–I don't really have or even know a publisher :)


57 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm

hee hee, oops! totally didn’t mean to claim a book! :D although I do still think about it from time to time… yep, that recent birthday must’ve done something to your head, girl! are you sure you’re not in the book… ? going to look… ;)


58 Jeni Treehugger November 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm

These look fandabby! I wonder how long they’d last for? And I don’t mean like 5 minutes round here, I’m looking to make some for Christmas gifts.


59 spabettie November 16, 2011 at 11:56 pm

they are SO fandabby! :D I have kept mine in the fridge, and the second batch I made have lasted a few days and they are still awesome. there’s really nothing in there that probably wouldn’t last… are you giving in person? even sending to someone, if you tell them to refrigerate upon arrival… should be okay?


60 Shirley @ gfe November 17, 2011 at 4:06 am

Love the book review and OMG on the Bourbon Balls! For many years after college I had an aversion to bourbon (you can guess why … LOL), but thankfully I’m over that now. I love your idea of using these instead of Rescue Remedy and you’d make so many more friends on the plane with these, too. ;-) Thanks for the book review as well, Kristina. It sounds like a fun and informative read! :-)


p.s. I agree on the seaweed.


61 spabettie November 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

yes, I think I know what you mean, Shirley! ;) glad you have recovered – these are REALLY good! (and I’m not generally a bourbon drinker!).

I was thinking just saving a few for me (we are flying soon!) but YES, I think you might be on to something… as long as they don’t make their way to the pilot, having a few extra on hand might make for a NICE calm flight… :)


62 Gena November 17, 2011 at 6:17 am

This is an excellent recipe for holiday giving! Scrumptious.


63 Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt November 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm

How fun are these?! Almost too pretty to eat. ALMOST. I could totally stuff my face with them. I’ll have to check out this cookbook. Sounds fun!


64 Pure2raw twins November 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm

you had me at bourbon….YUM!


65 Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau November 18, 2011 at 4:57 am

So, I keep wanting to tell you how great these look, but I also keep wanting to slide down the path of inappropriateness regarding those delicious looking, er, treats. I am practicing far more restraint with my comment than I ever could with those bourbon balls!!


66 spabettie November 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

YES Sally – I know. it is almost TOO easy, right? :D these really are delicious…


67 Dawn November 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm



68 spabettie November 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

thanks, Dawn.

since I was reviewing a cookbook and had permission to share the recipe, I shared the original.

if you had read on, you would see that I actually substituted agave.


69 Kath (My Funny Little Life) November 20, 2011 at 6:24 am

I’ve never enjoyed a bourbon ball (admittedly, I don’t liquors, especially in combination with sweets), but my dad would love them for sure. :)


70 spabettie November 20, 2011 at 9:26 am

it’s funny, I don’t usually enjoy anything sweet with spirits either, but these were really good! :D


71 Mark November 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm

we ordered the book, have now made these balls twice!! :)


72 spabettie November 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

so glad you like them, Mark! you will love this book, it’s a hoot!


73 Sana November 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

YUM!! made these over the weekend, and I wholeheartedly agree, a perfect flying snack these would be!!


74 Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) November 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Never had bourbon balls, but have had my share of bourbon as it was my Dad’s tipple of choice and eventually I discovered the mint julep (skinny style of course!)

The book sounds fabulous- sassy commenters unite!


75 Jennifer November 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I just ordered this book, thanks for letting me know about it. It looks really fun and who doesn’t love a little old lady, especially a snarky one??


76 Michele January 3, 2012 at 11:51 am

I remember sneaking these as a kid. :D I am making them tonight, thanks for the great book review.


77 spabettie January 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I hope they were as good as you remember, Michele, even if you don’t have to sneak them now! :)


78 Robb April 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm

my favorite! thanks for sharing recipes


79 Lex February 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm

just like my granna use to make… :)


80 Fran February 21, 2012 at 6:32 am

takes me back to when I snuck these as a kid LOL!!


81 Orie February 25, 2012 at 5:29 am

would you believe I’ve never had one of these? you make them look great!


82 Richelle February 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm

thank you for this review, I bought the book and have made many old recipes from my childhood! love it!


83 Ginni March 19, 2012 at 1:42 am

such a fun book, great looking recipe!


84 spabettie November 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm

you’re welcome, Donna! this is an easy recipe (most in the book are!), and SO good! enjoy!


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