Handmade holiday gifts #1

Here’s a low-stress recipe for all to enjoy! These confections keep beautifully for weeks in the refrigerator in tightly sealed containers. For gifting, just pop a dozen or so in a festive cellophane bag and tie with a curly ribbon. For the love of all that’s holly, buy decent bourbon because, let’s face it, you are probably going to be swilling it straight from the bottle at some point this season. Cheers.


Bourbon Balls

Yield: 3 dozen

Prep time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


1 box (approximately 11 ounces or 2 1/2 cups) of vanilla wafers, crushed

1 cup toasted pecans, ground

1 plus 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 cup bourbon

3 tablespoons corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional nonpareils, colored sugar, or cocoa powder for coating


Remove unopened bag of vanilla wafer cookies from box, and place on a firm surface. Using a largish hammer, smash the bag until you feel better/contents resemble a fine crumb. The bag will probably pop. Don’t panic. Have a sip of bourbon and finish grinding the wafers in a food processor. In a large bowl, combine smashed wafers, ground pecans, 1 cup of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and a tiny (seriously, teeny) pinch of cayenne.


In a separate bowl, combine bourbon, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients over the wafer mixture and incorporate thoroughly until a sticky dough is formed. Chill dough, covered, in the refrigerator for one hour. Form into one-inch balls and roll in1/4 cup powdered sugar, or in nonpareils, colored sugar, and/or cocoa powder. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.


Wendy Guild Swearingen is Senior Editor of BUFFALO SPREE MAGAZINE, and Editor of FOREVER YOUNG MAGAZINE.

Senior Editor

Wendy Guild Swearingen is Senior Editor of BUFFALO SPREE MAGAZINE, and Editor of FOREVER YOUNG MAGAZINE.

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