Instead of buying cheap, mass-produced gewgaws to give out this season, show your loved ones you care with a little DIY. During Grist’s 12 days of DIY gifts, we’ll share some crafty projects, with instructions that even we can follow. There’s sure to be a whatsit or wowsit for everyone.

Do it yourself: Bourbon Balls / Food

Who doesn’t love food? Answer: no one. No one doesn’t love food. Candy, baked goods, or even a prepared food mix, like brownie or pancake mix all make pretty great gifts and can be pretty easy on the wallet, depending on what’s already sitting in your pantry.

Food!

For starters, here’s our own Nathanael Johnson’s special recipe for bourbon balls (which may recall another holiday favorite: Schweddy Balls). Please note that these are NOT a snack for children, as the alcohol in the bourbon does not get cooked down!

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

  • 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of white Karo syrup
  • 2/3 cup bourbon
  • 5 cups crushed Vanilla wafers (or about 120 pre-crushing)
  • 2 cups of chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
  • powdered sugar for coating

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, and remove from heat.

1

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, and remove from heat.

Crush wafers in a food processor — or you can smash them in a bag.

2

Crush wafers in a food processor — or you can smash them in a bag.

Stir sugar and corn syrup into the chocolate. Once combined, add the bourbon.

3

Stir sugar and corn syrup into the chocolate. Once combined, add the bourbon.

Add wafer crumbs and chopped nuts.

4

Add wafer crumbs and chopped nuts.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar, then let them sit in a cool, dark place for for 3 to 4 days to ripen.

5

Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar, then let them sit in a cool, dark place for three to four days to ripen.

These delicious bonbons last about a month, stored in an airtight container.

These delicious bonbons last about a month when stored in an airtight container.

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