Somewhere Between Cookie and Candy

Today I made two cookies, each had a moist brownie-like base, and were cooked in the same way, but then the recipes diverged and one became a Rum Ball and another became a Grasshopper. Yes, it was a boozy day in the kitchen. I love these two cookies – they present beautifully in a cookie box.

I’ve learned over time that people are divided on cookies with booze. You’re either a fan or you’re not. No shillyshallying. The way I see it, an espresso and a liquor-laced cookie in the late afternoon, as the sun is setting, is a great way to cope with the dark days of December.

The Grasshopper cookie is from Gourmet, 2005, and it’s very fancy and rich (also very expensive, using 20 oz of bittersweet chocolate and another 10 oz of white chocolate.) They remind me of the ice cream sundae my Grandmother Bea would make for me – vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and a healthy shot of creme de menthe. Yes, for an 8 year old.

The recipe yields a ton of cookies – about 80 pcs if they are cut into small bonbons. Making them is a commitment – it takes hours, interrupted by cooling time. I made them in between making a few other things. I don’t mean to be discouraging, but be ready to commit.


On the other hand, the Rum Balls are incredibly easy and take very little time to make. Feel free to switch up the booze. They are wonderful with Grand Marnier, Frangelica, Bourbon, Cognac, even the new artisanal gins. This year, I substituted a rum liqueur called Velvet Falernum that makes a mojito extra wonderful. It’s sweeter than rum and has an herbal tone that’s amazing.


Rum Balls
recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes about 75 one bite cookies

3 oz unsalted butter, cubed
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 eggs
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c flour
1/3 c rum, bourbon or other liquor
5 oz sanding sugar – I am partial to bright white.

Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a sheet pan with parchment and then spray with non-stick spray.
Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until blended.
Stir in the chocolate/butter. Fold in the flour.
Spread the batter evenly across the parchment. Bang the pan on the counter to knock out the air bubbles.
Bake for 10 minutes. It might bubble way up, don’t worry, it will come down again.


Let the cookie cool for 15-20 minutes, then break it up into the bowl of your mixer.
Pour in the booze and buzz the mixture until it comes together as a dough.
Line another sheet pan with parchment.
Using a small scoop or two teaspoons, portion out 80 mounds of dough.

Roll the mounds gently in your hand until nice and round. Don’t compress the dough. Be gentle.
Roll the balls in sanding sugar until well coated.
Store in layers in an airtight container. Will keep for three weeks.

3 thoughts on “Somewhere Between Cookie and Candy”

  1. I can't imagine what a rum ball made with gin would be like! Would you be able to taste the gin? Or just feel the effect after a few?

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