Cookie Calendar: Booze Balls

We created these truffle-like cookies a few evenings ago while enjoying another viewing of A Christmas Carol on DVD (see? Make it festive!). Scott did have to make a chocolate run to the convenience store when we decided to make a double batch and discovered we were 40 grams short on chocolate, but otherwise this recipe went a good deal more smoothly than the Rum Balls.

It helped that I found a meat pounder to use for crushing the cookies this time around. Last time we attempted a lightweight skillet and our fingers before finally settling on the edge of a wooden cutting board. Of course, you should use your food processor and save yourself a good deal of time.

We did have to make a few substitutions. Since they don't sell chocolate chips here as far as we can tell (though you can buy packaged chocolate-chip cookies), we used chopped-up dark chocolate bars. Thus, ours might taste a little sweeter than yours. We also used rum rather than bourbon or brandy since we didn't want to buy yet another bottle of liquor that we will not finish in the next four and a half months.

Also, since our box of prunes was three dried plums short of the amount required, we subbed in a couple tablespoons of golden raisins. Chopped up into mush, they didn't stand out much at all.

We used the plain granulated sugar we had on hand for decoration, which as you can see in the picture produced a sparkly coat for each ball that didn't end up absorbed by the moisture of the balls after a couple of days of "maturation."

As for the taste: These balls do remind me of truffles infused with liqueur, with their soft, somewhat grainy texture and chocolaty yet slightly fruity and boozy flavor. They also remind me a little of chocolate Lara Bars without the nuts.

Cookie Tip #20: Some cookies, such as gingerbread men and stained-glass cut-outs, make excellent tree decorations. When you make the string holes in your cookies before baking, make them much bigger than you expect to need to allow for puffing in the oven. Why not buy a small artificial tree for a table (one out of reach of pets!) and decorate it entirely in edible ornamentations? Think popcorn or cereal garlands, candy canes, and, of course, cookies. Just don't expect it to last until Christmas day!

Booze Balls
Source: Food Network
Yield: 4-1/2 dozen one-inch balls

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces!)

  • 20 chocolate wafer cookies (about 1/2 a 9-ounce box)

  • ½ cup finely chopped pitted dried plums (about 15)

  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar

  • ¼ cup bourbon or 1/3 to 1/2 cup brandy

  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, or colored decorating sugars, for garnish

Put chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on medium power for a minute. Stir and repeat until the chocolate melts, about 3 minutes in all depending on the power of your microwave. Alternatively, put the chocolates in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1-inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan (without touching the water). Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.

Process the cookies in a food processor until finely ground (you should have about 1 1/2 cups ground cookies). Alternatively, put cookies inside a heavy re-sealable plastic bag and crush by moving a rolling pin over the cookies.

Stir the cookie crumbs, dried plums, confectioners' sugar, bourbon or brandy, and condensed milk into the chocolate until evenly combined.

Cover and refrigerate the mixture until firm enough to roll into balls, about 45 minutes. Scoop a tablespoon or so of the mixture into small balls with a cookie or small ice cream scoop and set onto a baking sheet or a large plate. Roll each portion by hand into a smooth ball.

Store booze balls in an air tight container at room temperature for a day to allow the flavors to come together. Store balls in the refrigerator for a week or freeze for up to 1 month.

To serve, put the sugar on a plate and roll the balls in it to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Download Booze Balls into MacGourmet.

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