This marks Andy and my third Christmas together and ever since that first December, Andy has been waxing poetic about bourbon balls. I had no idea what bourbon balls were when he first dropped them into conversation. Coming from a rather teetotaler household, we only ever made peanut butter balls (also called Buckeyes in some parts of the country) for the holidays, but it turns out bourbon balls are quite similar: bourbon soaked pecans mixed with powdered sugar, butter, rolled into balls and dipped in melted chocolate. Despite his talking about bourbon balls every December, for the last two Christmases, we just didn't get around to making them. Maybe I was just a little nervous about trying out something new . . .
As a college kid, fresh to the adult world and anxious to engage in Christmas merriment, my roommates and I almost always did some holiday baking. Despite all being pretty confident (and competent) in the kitchen, when working with unknown and unreliable appliances, these Christmas baking adventures resulted in a number of notable disasters.
My freshman year, my roommates and I decided to make sugar cookie in the dorm kitchen. A number of sprinkles got on the cookie sheets before they went into the oven and while the cookies were baking, the sprinkles proceeded to burn. The smoke alarm went off and the entire building was evacuated. (Luckily, it was 6 p.m. on a Friday night -- not a whole lot of people were affected.) I remember standing in the neighboring building, clutching a pair of hot pads to my chest, while we watched the emergency vehicles arrive.
Oh look, the fire engine . . .
Funny story . . .
Then my sophomore year, my dear friend (and at the time roommate), Sarah, decided to make peanut butter balls. I had made peanut balls a ton of times with my mother, but had never done it by myself. I think the same goes for Sarah. When it got to the part where you melt the chocolate, Sarah and I decided the chocolate didn't look smooth enough . . .so we added water. Of course the chocolate immediately ceased and we ended up with peanut butter balls dabbed with bits of chunky chocolate. We dubbed them Shitballs. They tasted delicious though.
Ever since, Shitballs, aka, peanut butter balls, have been a holiday tradition, something that Sarah and I make together almost every Christmas. Because of something pesky call being adults and have hundreds of miles in between us and crappy schedules, Sarah and I didn't get around to making Shitballs this year, so it only made sense that bourbon balls fill the void.
After making a test batch last week, Andy tweaked the recipe a little bit and prepared a second batch to share with coworkers, family, friends, etc. The chocolate didn't cease, the butter in the balls didn't melt in the chocolate, and the fire alarm didn't go off. Boring really.
I still prefer the Shitballs (yes, I do choose peanut butter over bourbon) however it's been fun to watch Andy so diligently plug away at a project. Perhaps a new Christmas tradition has been born.