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Holiday cookies: Bourbon balls

December 13, 2011 |  8:00 am

Bourbon balls
Kate Wheeler of Pasadena was one of the winners of last year's Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off with this recipe for bourbon balls. "Something about the flavor of liquor in desserts just screams 'holiday' to me," she said. "Maybe it's a nod to fruitcake and plum pudding, or maybe it's just a way to get through all the family gatherings of the holidays." Cookiecover

They're among the 50 favorite holiday cookie recipes we've collected in our "Holiday Cookies" e-book, which is on sale now.

All of them have been vetted by The Times' Test Kitchen, so you know they work. Download it on the Amazon Kindle, the Nook or via the iBookstore. Or go straight to the source.

And don't forget: Thursday we'll be unveiling a whole new collection of sweets from this year's contest.

Photo: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Bourbon Balls

Total time: 1 hour, plus chilling time for the dough

Servings: About 4 dozen bourbon balls

10 ounces Nilla wafers or graham crackers, crushed into crumbs (about 2½ cups crumbs)

1 cup finely ground pecan halves

1/2 cup powdered sugar

6 ounces chocolate chips

1/2 cup bourbon

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Granulated sugar, for dusting

1. In a large bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, ground pecans and powdered sugar.

2. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate until it's melted (I usually do it for 30 seconds, then in 10-second intervals, stirring between each interval, and stop before they're totally melted because they'll melt as you stir). Stir in bourbon and corn syrup to combine (the chocolate will seize a bit and the bourbon won't incorporate well. Just do the best you can).

3. Add the chocolate mixture to the crumbs mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

4. Pour some granulated sugar into a dish. Form the chocolate mixture into small balls the size of grapes, and roll each ball in the sugar.

Each of 4 dozen cookies: 73 calories; 1 gram protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 20 mg sodium.