There are few things that say "happy holidays" quite like homemade pie. But if you're looking for a simpler take on dessert this year, you'll want to try these pecan pie bourbon balls. The recipe features the best ingredients of pecan pie — think pecans, maple syrup, and brown sugar — but in bite-size, miniature form.
Not to mention, by serving pecan pie balls instead of actual pie, you'll eliminate the need for forks and plates. (Translation: Fewer dishes to wash!) They're also ideal for gifting, since you can toss them in a box or jar and call it a holiday.
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Moreover, this recipe is a no-bake dessert that can be made in advance. This means you'll be able to save space in then oven while getting ahead of holiday prep. It's a win-win, to say the least.
One batch of pecan pie bourbon balls yields about 32 pieces, depending on how big you make them.
How to Make Pecan Pie Bourbon Balls
Things You'll Need
2 cups pecans
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 graham cracker sheets)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
Pinch of salt
Melted chocolate (optional)
Instead of graham crackers, you can use vanilla wafer or Oreo crumbs for a different take.
Pulverize the pecans in a food processor. You can leave some bigger pieces for texture.
To deepen the pecans' flavor, toast them first. Simply spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Otherwise, you can skip toasting to keep this recipe a no-bake dessert.
In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Whisk well.
To make this recipe non-alcoholic, combine 1 teaspoon rum or maple extract with water until you have 1/4 cup of liquid.
In a large bowl, combine the pecans, graham crackers, brown sugar, and salt. Toss, add the liquid mixture, then toss again until all the ingredients are damp.
Finally, add the melted butter and toss to combine. The mixture is ready when it easily clumps together. If it's too dry, add another one or two tablespoons of melted butter.
Form the mixture into balls, about one inch wide. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Once the pecan pie bourbon balls have chilled, they're ready to eat. But if you want take it up a notch, try coating them in melted chocolate.
To do this, place chocolate chunks or chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds, stir, then microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
From there, dip the pecan pie balls in the chocolate using a spoon or toothpick. Next, top them with pecans or crushed graham cracker crumbs. Alternatively, you can simply drizzle melted chocolate on top for a subtle and sweet touch.