12.30.2011

2-0-1-1

Ahhh, 2011, you’ve treated us well. A new apartment! A new human! And for the first year since 2007, no one cut open my head! Yahooooo! 2-0-1-1, you thought of everything. Then, to top it all off, you squeezed in some fudgy bourbon balls just under the wire. That’s bourbon and chocolate together in one boozy confection.



It’s been a very good year.



The recipe comes from Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, the same cookbook that brought us that special snacking cake and rosemary-laced lemon bars, which practically makes these bourbon balls delicious by association. I added them to our Chanukah party spread last week, sent some off to my family in Ohio, then hurried right back into the kitchen to prepare a batch for New Year’s Eve. I thought you might want to make them for New Year’s Eve, too, though to be perfectly honest, I’m kicking myself for sharing the recipe with you only this afternoon. You can start these bourbon balls the night before, or even the day you plan to serve them if you can get the dough together with enough time to let it rest before rolling. The one- to two-day old balls will be very good. But I’ve found that they don’t really arrive until day four or five. That’s when their fudginess peaks. (The bourbon in these little buggers sneaks up on you, by the way, so watch out.)

A couple of things about this recipe surprised me. First, there’s the fact that you crunch up store-bought chocolate cookies in a food processor and use the crumbs as the base for the balls. In other words, you’re making what amounts to a cookie out of cookies. It's cookie cannibalism, people. Then comes the part where you have to leave the dough (can I even call it “dough?”) uncovered for hours to dry it out. That also felt strange, and especially so when I realized that the finished balls also do best when left out in the open. For days. But then you have yourself a plate of bourbon balls so dense and rich – almost chewy – that suddenly, the whole thing feels perfectly natural. Of course, that could be the bourbon talking.



I’m going to unplug next week to wrap up a work project and get some ducks in a row, but I’ll be back on January 7th with a recipe and some thoughts for 2012. Until then, Happy New Year, friends.

[Oh, and p.s. – When we moved last spring, we did so with the help of some good friends. No boxes, if you recall. We just picked up our stuff and carried it over to the apartment next door. Eli captured the whole apartment take-down on camera and stitched the shots together into a stop-action video. It’s a fun piece, and I thought you might like to see it… if only to see poor Eli trot across our empty living room with a 19-weeks-pregnant Jess on his back!]



Music: "Cripple Creek," Mike Seeger.

Fudgy Bourbon Balls
Adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark

Melissa Clark recommends using Nabisco Famous wafers for the cookie crumbs, but any crisp chocolate cookie will do. Think Oreo cookie (minus the cream) or crisper. I used Mi-Del Chocolate Snaps. Deb over at Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for chocolate wafers that would work beautifully, if you’re into the whole bake a cookie to make a cookie routine.

2½ c. chocolate cookie crumbs
1¼ c. pecans
½ c. good bourbon or rum (I used Woodford Reserve)
1 c. confectioners’ sugar, plus additional for rolling
3 Tbsps. unsweetened cocoa powder, plus additional for rolling
1½ Tbsps. honey

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the cookie crumbs and the pecans until the nuts are finely ground.

In a separate bowl, stir together the bourbon or rum, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, and honey. Add the mixture to the food processor and pulse until just combined. Transfer the dough to a bowl, preferably a wide, shallow one to maximize air exposure, and let it rest, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. You want the dough to try out a bit before rolling the balls.

Using one level teaspoonful of dough per ball, use your fingers to roll into balls. Roll some of the balls in confectioners’ sugar, and some of them in cocoa powder. The coatings will absorb into the balls over time, so if you want, you can sprinkle or re-roll in the sugar and cocoa just before serving.

Yield: A zillion bourbon balls, by which I mean about 100.

21 comments:

Julie said...

Love love love the video!! It makes me want to go and help my friends move. Especially if they have a zillion chocolate bourbon balls on hand. Happy 2012!

Michele | Cooking At Home said...

Very cute video! Best wishes for a healthy, happy New Year!

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

My (88!) year old grandmother makes rum balls for the holiday every year and they are my FAVORITE. Since I'm a gal with a thing for bourbon (and Melissa Clark recipes) I am so happy to see you post this recipe. It seems almost wrong to make them after Christmas, but winter can be a dark and difficult time. ;)

I so enjoy reading your posts. Wishing you the very best in 2012!

Molly said...

I love: your new apartment, your new human, your moving video, Melissa Clark's cookbook, (well, Melissa Clark, for that matter), and your version of her bourbon balls. I will help you to make a dent in them ASAP. I can probably take down at least a quarter zillion. Maybe closer a half. Maybe. xo

El said...

Fun video. Looks like you have some great friends. I'm glad to hear this year went well for you. Bourbon balls look like a great way to ring in the New Year. Here's to a great 2012.

Sue/the view from great island said...

Sounds like it was indeed a wonderful 2011. The video is hysterical, the rums balls tempting, and your blog, as always, delightful, thanks!

charlotte au chocolat said...

Chocolate + bourbon sounds pretty perfect indeed. Wishing you all a wonderful year!

megan said...

Wait, day four or five? That might be one of *my* days! There is indeed a lot to celebrate about 2011 and a lot to look forward to in 2012 -
xx
megan

Rosiecat said...

Ah, I love the video! Hilarious! Especially all the dancing at the end. I agree--2011 was good to you, dear Jess, and I only hope 2012 can keep up with the momentum.

Also, I know Melissa Clark's book was published in 2010, but can I nominate it for 2011 Cookbook of the Year? What a gem! What good eating! Hip hip!

Birdy said...

Wow! These look so good, they will have to be my first kitchen project after this baby gets born. Thank you! And happy new year :)

linda said...

special persons have special persons sharing their lives…you are such a person & your friends are troopers!…eli produced a WONDERFUL & very emotionally charged video (aside from the fun aspect)….friends & family sharing & helping…truly how 2012 worldwide should be…
perhaps i am too sentimental as we begin a new year…

thank you for SA…it is a warm & inviting place to be!

koshercamembert said...

I love the video and the music! Here's looking to a 2012 as good, if not better, than 2011.
Love, Gayle

Nico said...

okay, that video was amazing. You have awesome friends.

Clarice said...

My mother made bourbon balls every Christmas. they are definitely an adult confection...I think I can appreciate them best in your beautiful photos!

Andrea said...

What a happy 2011! Love the stop-action video; thanks for sharing!

janna said...

The video is fantastic!! Is there an accompanying one for moving into the new place?

And that Bourbon Ball recipe is the one I have used for years, except mine uses vanilla wafers and white Karo syrup instead of honey. It also doesn't have the drying out step. I think next year I'll at least try the chocolate cookies in place of the vanilla wafers....

Nishta said...

y'all are SO stinkin' cute. I love your husband. and I want to make these, but damn, woman, I AM SO FULL OF HOLIDAY CONFECTIONS. Valentine's Day, maybe?? miss you.

Stephanie said...

I am still a-glow from New Year's Eve and those damn bourbon balls. I use damn with the most sincere heart, mind you. As in DAMN those are amazing.

If I start the outpourings of I love you and your bourbon balls and your kitchen and holidays with you and and and...I'll never stop. So I'll simply pause until your next post. xo

Katie said...

So cute! You guys are awesome, and these look delicious.

Holly said...

Love the video! Thanks to you and Eli for sharing it. Now I have to go find a man who will dance around with me like that...

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

I love that video. And this blog. And bourbon and chocolate, together forever. Happy New Year!