Whiskey chocolate balls
Confession: I was embarrassingly late on listening to Sleater-Kinney. As in, they broke up in 2006 and I didn’t get super into All Hands On The Bad One until about four years later. (I will now cover my eyes so I can’t see your totally disgusted faces shunning me. But don’t worry, I got on that Wild Flag record reeeal quick.) Needless to say, they’re on the long, long list of bands I wish someone had told me about when I was in high school. Anyway, it goes without saying that that album is incredible, and these whiskey balls come from a line in “You’re No Rock N’ Roll Fun” about “whiskey drinks and chocolate bars.” The first line of the song — “You’re no rock ‘n’ roll fun/ Like a party that’s over before it’s begun” — hits home for me because when my friends and I go out, I tend to be the one who gets tired super early, and I’m frequently hassled about my inability/refusal to take shots. I also don’t like whiskey! (See? Ms. No Rock N’ Roll Fun over here.) However, now I can say that I sometimes like whiskey: when it’s baked in a cake, then turned into little balls of chocolatey, sugary, walnutty goodness (mixed with even a little more whiskey). These were kind of amazing, and they’ll certainly be replacing any future urge to make cake balls: They’re quite similar, but because these babies use sugar and booze to bind the cake crumbs together instead of buttery frosting, they don’t result in obnoxiously greasy hands, and they don’t feel as heavy to eat.
Unrelated to the great S-K: I took these treats to a super-cool event called BAKINGMAKESFRIENDS — which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Lillie from the gorgeous baking blog Butter Me Up Brooklyn, started this shindig, to which you bring baked goods and friends, and hang at a bar to trade treats and meet new people. Lillie made bourbon blondies (obviously we were on the same page), and among my other favorites were chocolate ginger cookies, poppyseed buckwheat cookies (trust me, they were SO good), cardamom baklava, mustard spice cookies… I could go on and on. Anyway, it was lovely and I’m looking forward to the next one!
Makes about 40-45 whiskey balls, depending on how many you eat as you go… Aaand, these can easily be vegan as long as the cake is vegan (the ones I made were).
1 9-inch round cake**
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 1/2 tablespoons whiskey (I used Evan Williams — no one said this has to be classy)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Toppings of your choosing — I used coconut, graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder (use the good stuff!), and powdered sugar
** I used this recipe, but I replaced the wine with whiskey (I also didn’t sift the dry ingredients, and I baked it as a cake instead of cupcakes, which upped the baking time to about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center came out clean). However, you can use any cake recipe you’d like. If you use a boxed mix, you’ll want to double the rest of the ingredients, as that will make two 9-inch round cakes or one 13×9.
• Prepare cake according to directions. Let cool completely, then crumble it up in a large bowl. With a spoon and then your hands, mix cake crumbs, powdered sugar, walnuts, cocoa powder and whiskey, until it’s thick enough to hold together in a big ball. (It will work, I promise!)
• Form the cake mixture into about-1-inch balls (I used a batter scoop), roll in your hands to smooth it out, then roll it in your choice of topping(s).