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Bourbon Butter Pecan Maltball Cookies

If using nearly a full-sized bottle of bourbon to make one batch of cookies sounds sacrilegious to you, stop reading now. But if you're still reading, I promise you won't regret it. These cookies have deep, bold flavors of bourbon, caramel, chocolate, toasted nuts, and warm vanilla. They're chewy with slightly crispy edges and keep ya on your toes with pops of crunch throughout. I have no idea why but these cookies remind me of two of my greatest loves: fall and football.

Bourbon reduction is just that- reducing bourbon. I like a 75% reduction. So if you start with 1 cup of bourbon in a small saucepan, reduce it to 1/4 cup over medium-low heat. You'll likely want more than that for this recipe so start with 2 cups and simmer it down to 1/2 cup. Use it in everything- cookies, cake, steak, chicken, etc. If you're fresh out of bourbon or prefer to leave out the alcohol, you can swap with 1 teaspoon of bourbon extract.


Large bowl or bowl of a standing mixer

2 sticks (226g) salted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (115g) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (115g) dark brown sugar

1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar

Small bowl

1 egg

1 egg yolk

4 tablespoons (60g) bourbon reduction

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Medium bowl

3 cups (370g) bread flour

2 tablespoons (20g) dry milk powder, optional

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

On the sidelines

1 1/2 cups (170g) toasted pecans, chopped

6 cups (560g) of Whoppers candies

Extra bourbon reduction, optional



In the large bowl or bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until very, very, very light and fluffy- about 5-7 minutes.


Add the eggs and extracts to the butter mixture and beat for another minute. Scrap down the sides of your bowl to make sure everything's coming together evenly.


Add in the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the pecans and 3 cups of the Whoppers. You can lightly crush the Whoppers if you like but I find if you add them whole, some of them will naturally crush while mixing and some remain perfectly whole in the cookie.


Let the cookie dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour but preferably an entire day. It will make a difference, I promise.


You have two options: baking the cookies now or bake the cookies frozen. The benefit of baking frozen cookie dough is that you can control the spread of the cookie and you end up with a more perfectly round cookie. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, portion the chilled cookie dough and either freeze or get ready to bake.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have the option of convection, preheat to 350. Line a few baking pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper.


Throw the remaining 3 cups of Whoppers in a Ziplock bag and crush into tiny bits. Brush the tops of the cookie dough with some of the extra bourbon reduction and roll the tops in the crushed Whoppers. Place on the prepared pans leaving a few inches of space between each cookie.


Bake until the middle of the cookies are barely set- about 20-21 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you have leftover bourbon reduction, my trade secret is to brush a little (or a lot) on the still hot cookies. It will soak into the cookies, leave them with bold bourbon notes, and add another layer of texture for which there are no words.


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