Bourbon Balls

It’s the 9th week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Meal Planning Magic. I can’t believe  it’s so close to Christmas! Where has this year gone?

Unlike several of the recipes I’ve made this year (cinnamon sugar pretzels; pecan, kahlua, and brown sugar baked brie; salted caramel hot chocolate mix; and snickerdoodles), this week’s recipe isn’t a new one for me. I’ve made these bourbon balls a couple of times in the past but it was either before this blog existed, or the candies never survived to be photographed. They’re incredibly rich and if you ask my coworkers, it’s hard to have just one.

Bourbon Balls

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 89 (p 80)

Makes ~4 dozen


  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. bourbon (I used Jim Bean)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 8 oz. pecans, toasted and cooled
  • 8 oz. plain pound cake (I used store-bought but you can use fresh if you have it on hand)
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar

Make the Ganache: In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream barely to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon and vanilla. Sprinkle chocolate over hot cream mixture and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

While chocolate is melting, place pecans in a food processor, pulsing until coarsely chopped. Add pound cake and pulse until pecans and pound cake are finely chopped.

Whisk chocolate into cream until mixture is smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour in chocolate. When pecans, pound cake, and chocolate are thoroughly combined, pour into a bowl and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Make the Bourbon Balls: Just before removing ganache from fridge, line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper, or set mini cupcake liners on a baking sheet (or serving dish).

Sift together cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Place in a shallow bowl or plate.

Remove ganache from fridge. Using a mini ice cream scoop or two teaspoons, scoop out a tablespoon of mixture. Roll in between your palms to form a ball. Roll in cocoa-sugar mixture and place on prepared baking sheet or in a cupcake liner. Continue until finished with the ganache. (If mixture gets too soft to work with, refrigerate again until firm).

Refrigerate bourbon balls until firm, about 2 hours.

Store: Bourbon balls are best stored in a cool place (fridge or at room temp if it’s not too warm) so that they retain their shape.

Pretzel S’mores

Last week, I made the world’s most expensive salad. As I was getting the balsamic vinegar from my cabinet, a glass spice jar fell, and hit the stove top in just the wrong spot. It cracked the glass top, making two burners unusable. Now I’m afraid use the stove or oven at all. All it’ll take is a little water to slip through that crack and I’ll end up electrocuting myself.

The new stove is supposed to arrive this coming Saturday, putting a little bit of a cramp in my Veteran’s weekend baking plans. I had planned to knock out my holiday care packages, sending them early because of our upcoming move. Lucky for me that I had at least one no-bake item on my list – these pretzel s’mores that I discovered through Pinterest. Not only were the s’mores easy to make, they’ve got that amazing salty-sweet combo that I love. Fingers crossed that the recipients of my care packages enjoy them as much as I did!

Looking for more holiday treats? Head over to Meal Planning Magic to see what else bloggers made to celebrate the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.

Pretzel S’mores

Inspired by Love From the Oven

Makes ~3 dozen pretzel s’mores


  • 13 oz. bag of pretzels (I used the square waffle ones but use whatever shape you’d like)
  • ~18 snack sized chocolate bars (milk chocolate or dark, your choice)
  • 1/2 bag of marshmallows (~18 marshmallows)
  • 1 1/2 bags candy melts, melted
  • sprinkles (if desired)

Note: You may have extra pretzels, marshmallows, and chocolate melts leftover.

Prep: Line a shallow Pyrex (or other microwave safe dish) with wax or parchment paper. In addition, line a baking sheet with wax paper. Set both aside.

Prep the chocolate and marshmallows. Break the mini chocolate bars into 3-4 pieces, depending on the size and shape of your pretzels. Cut the marshmallows into 3 pieces.

Make the S’mores: In the Pyrex dish, place one layer of pretzels, leaving about an inch between each pretzel. Top with a piece of marshmallow and a piece of chocolate. Microwave for 10-20 seconds, until marshmallows puff up a little. Some of the chocolate may also start to melt. Remove from microwave and top with a second pretzel.

Allow pretzels to sit for a minute or two to set. Dip in melted chocolate melts and set on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes (or freeze for less time) until chocolate is set.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Kahlua Truffle Triangles

It’s been a while since I told you how much I love the recipes published in Fine Cooking magazine. It’s by far, my favorite cooking magazine out there. I’ve had a subscription for several years now and I rarely make a recipe that doesn’t come out as good as I hoped for.

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie. I made it for a couple of our holiday parties, and then again upon request for a friend’s Chrismukkah  party. As a hostess, I love them because they can be made up to a month ahead of time and frozen. As a party-goer, I love Kahlua Truffle Triangles because they’re so rich and decadent, making them more like a truffle or candy than a bar cookie.

Want to spoil a loved one? Try these. (And hide a few in the freezer for yourself!)

Kahlua Truffle Triangles

Adapted from Fine Cooking No.82 p. 66

Makes approximately 5 dozen pieces

Ingredients for the Crust*:

  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 c.) all-purpose flour
  • 3 oz. (3/4 c.) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, plus more to grease the pan
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

* Fine Cooking recommends measuring the ingredients for the crust by weight for best results. However, I included measurements as well, in case you don’t have a kitchen scale.

Ingredients for the Chocolatey Kahlua Goodness:

  • 1 lb. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 c. whole or 2% milk
  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2-4 Tbs. Kahlua (I use closer to 4 Tbs.)


  1. Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing the foil to hang over the edge by an inch or two. Lightly butter and set aside.
  2. With a rack positioned in the center of the oven, preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Make the crust: Place flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and vanilla, pulsing until the ingredients are just a bunch of crumbles. Turn dough out into prepared pan. (Do not add water, no matter how much you think it’s too dry.) Spread and press along bottom of the pan (not sides!) into a smooth even layer. The crumbles will press down and come together into a proper shortbread crust. Bake 20-25 minutes, until pale golden. Do not overbake or you will have a hard crust. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  4. As crust is cooling, lower temperature to 325°F and make the chocolate Kahlua layer.
  5. Set a medium bowl over simmering water. Melt the chocolate, milk, and butter together, stirring and whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  6. As the chocolate is cooling, combine eggs, sugar, and Kahlua in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until the color has lightened and mixture is slightly foamy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in chocolate mixture, scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat for 30-60 seconds until completely combined.
  7. Pour the chocolate-Kahlua topping over crust in an even layer. Bake 25-30 minutes, until sides are slightly puffy and a toothpick inserted into the center is “wet and gooey but not liquid.” Allow to cool on a wire rack. (Center may sink a little bit – that’s ok. It doesn’t bother me, but if you’d like, while chocolate is still warm, push down on the elevated edges so that they sink to the same level as the center.)
  8. When completely cool, refrigerate until very cold, at least 12 hours or as much as 2 days.
  9. An hour or two before serving, remove bars from pan using the handy-dandy aluminum foil overhand. Peal away foil and place on a cutting board. Using a hot knife, slice bars into squares and then diagonally into triangles. Trust me, these are very rich so you want to cut them into triangles. Wipe knife clean, warming if necessary, in between each cut. If the triangles get too soft (as it did for me on this unusually warm spring day), refrigerate another 15 minutes before continue cutting.
Store in the fridge.
Make Ahead & Freeze: Bars can be make up to 1 month ahead and frozen in the baking pan, wrapped tightly in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap. Do not cut the triangles before freezing.

Chubby Hubby Truffles

When I was a kid, Ben and Jerry’s was all over the place. A special treat, I always got the same thing – chubby hubby ice cream in a cup, no toppings. Vanilla ice cream, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and chocolate swirls. Salty-sweet. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

When I tell friends that Chubby Hubby was my favorite ice cream, most think I’m crazy. They’ve never heard of it, but once I describe it, they get on board pretty quickly. What’s not to like?

I’ve been thinking of chubby hubby-inspired desserts for a while now.  (I have a recipe for cookies conjured up in my head, I just haven’t gotten a chance to experiment yet.) When I saw a recipe for Chubby Hubby Truffles, the recipe shot to the top of my list of recipes to try. My hubby and I love the peanut butter balls my mother-in-law makes every Christmas, and I knew we would love Chubby Hubby Truffles just as much. The below recipe is different that the peanut butter balls, but I would absolutely adapt that recipe to do just the same (it just makes a ton of truffles and I really didn’t want to be tempted with that much candy in the house!).

So with the recipe at the top of my list and two birthdays on the horizon, I whipped up a double batch. Hubby and I were not disappointed. In fact, it was a good thing that I photographed the truffles and packaged most of them up before the hubby got home for the night. He was eying the truffles on the kitchen table, looking at me and hoping that I’d give in and let him break into the packages. 🙂

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Adapted from Beantown Baker

Makes 18 truffles


  • 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 c. finely crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 bag Wilton candy melts*

* In lieu of candy melts, you can use 1 c. semi-sweet or milk chocolates plus 1 Tbs. shortening.


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set on the side.
  2. In a medium bowl with a wooden spoon, stir together peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined.
  3. Mix in pretzels, reserving 1-2 Tbs. of pretzels to sprinkle on top (if desired).
  4. Using a cookie scoop or two teaspoons, portion out peanut butter-pretzel mixture and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Microwave candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl at 30-second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  6. Remove the peanut butter-pretzel balls from the fridge. With two forks, coat each with chocolate – rolling to coat completely and allowing extra chocolate to drip off. Place back on parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little crushed pretzels. (I sprinkled each truffle as I went, as the chocolate set quickly.)
  7. Refrigerate another 30 minutes to completely set chocolate before moving to an airtight container to store.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for as long as you can resist. 🙂