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Brandy Balls

By Stephanie Wise
Bring homemade brandy balls to your next holiday gathering for a fun and festive treat!
brandy balls on holiday-themed table

One of the things I miss most about my great-grandmother, besides her warm nature and hospitality, are her holiday cookies. Each year before Christmas she’d bake up a storm in her kitchen, creating all sorts of unique cookies from hazelnut wafers to apricot jam thumbprint cookies to almond horns. But she’d also make rum balls…tons and tons of them. As a child, I was never privy to them and my parents would always talk about how tasty they were, which only made it worse (I never did, and still don’t, enjoy being denied cookies). 

Unfortunately, along with the passing of my great-grandmother went many of her recipes, including those rum balls. Since then, we haven’t had any of her cookies. So it’s been my mission over the past few years to try to recreate her recipes from my childhood memory. And while I can’t exactly recover the taste of the rum balls I never had, these brandy balls have still become a new hit among my family members. 

Not only do these brandy balls require simple ingredients, they are incredibly easy to make. My kind of cookie! To make the brandy balls, you’ll need a box of vanilla wafer cookies, some brandy, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chopped nuts and corn syrup.

brandy ball supplies

Crush the wafers into fine crumbs in a food processor, then stir them in a large bowl together with the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and chopped nuts.

Crushed wafers in a large bowl with powdered sugar, cocoa powder and chopped nuts

Whisk the brandy and corn syrup together, then stir it into the dry mixture until a dough-like mixture forms.

dry mixture in bowl

Roll the mixture between your palms into 1-inch balls, then roll each ball in powdered sugar or cocoa powder (or both).

brandy ball being dipped in coacoa

Serve the brandy balls in mini cupcake liners, shot glasses or martini glasses and get ready for the compliments to roll in.

brandy balls on holiday-themed table