Christmas Eve and a Holiday Favourite

It’s Christmas Eve!  All of my presents are wrapped, and food is prepped, so not it’s time to relax and celebrate. Christmas Eve is always the bigger celebration in our house, with Christmas day more relaxed. One of my favourite things to make during the holidays is my family’s recipe for bourbon balls, which we’ve been making since I can remember. I have no idea where my grandmother got this recipe, but it’s definitely a favourite. Over time I’ve tweaked it a bit, most notably by adding a bit more bourbon than the recipe calls for.


I’ve made a few other small changes, altering the sugar in the recipe, and the type of cookie used–the recipe itself calls for vanilla wafers, but since it can be hard to find these in dairy-free versions, I sub another wafer cookie,like Newman’s Own Alphabet Cookies, which give the same texture. I’m not a huge fan of adding corn syrup, so I like to sweeten with maple syrup, which also adds a bit more flavour rather than sugar. Sometimes I’ll coat them in cocoa powder rather than confectioner’s sugar for a more chocolatey flavour

Here is the adapted recipe as I actually follow it now. The coconut oil, one it solidifies, helps to hold them together without the corn syrup. You can tweak the maple syrup a bit to taste. I like to use a food processor to help crush the cookies and walnuts, but I recommend doing them separately, as you don’t want to cookies to be completely broken up, but to have some texture left.


• 7.5oz vanilla wafer cookies

• 4oz walnuts, chopped finely

• 1.5 tbs coconut oil melted

•2 Tbs dark cocoa powder

• 2-3 Tbs maple syrup

• 3-4 tbs bourbon (or rum)

• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

• 1/2 c confectioners sugar


  1. combine cookie crumbs, cocoa powder,  and chopped walnuts in a large bowl
  2. add the bourbon or rum, vanilla, and coconut oil and mix until a cohesive dough forms. If the mixture seems a bit loose, add more bourbon (or maple syrup if you prefer).
  3. form the mixture into small spheres with about 1-1.5 tsp each.
  4. Let dry for at least 30 minutes, but ideally an hour, then roll in confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder

You may want to double the recipe as they go quickly! These would also make a fantastic new year’s snack , or a super last minute gift that is both thoughtful and delicious.

Merry Christmas if you’re celebrating!


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