RLB Bourbon Pecan Butter Balls

I remember the rum balls of my youth. They were cakey, damp and coated with sprinkles. I loved the textural contrast of the dry chocolatey sprinkles and the wet, almost squishy cake inside.

These bourbon balls are much drier than the liquor-scented treats of my youth, but the crunchy sugar on the outside and the nuggets of pecan studding the chocolatey insides were equally intriguing. As an added bonus, they were easy to make. Unless you choose to make the cookie base, it’s a matter of measuring, mixing and scooping.

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I had a small roll of dough left over from making Orioles, so I baked them (photo left) and added in a package of chocolate wafer cookies.

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Powdered sugar and pecans mix with the cookie crumbs

Add butter for texture and deliciousness. Also, bourbon.



Scoop, roll into ball and into sugar.


Wait a day because they’re way better after the flavors have a chance to meld and the alcohol in the bourbon starts to evaporate.




RLB Cadillac Cafe Milk Chocolate Bread Pudding

closeup finished

This dessert received an excellent score on the effort-to-reward ratio. At least when made in one pan. Since I don’t own nine matching mini souffle bowls, and my antipathy for precision in presentation is longstanding, I opted to make one large pudding instead of nine single serving sizes.

bread for pudding use this
I had fun slicing the bread into lots of thin slices
sliced bread for pudding
bread after being brushed with clarified butter and baked to crisp up

I’m not sure why clarified butter is preferable in this recipe -maybe because it’s a purer flavor? In any case, I used this recipe as an excuse to clarify three pounds of butter so I have enough for the next few recipes that need it, as well as plenty for making popcorn.

chocolate & cream

With the bread readied, it’s on to the custard! Here’s the chocolate, and half and half because I just couldn’t eat a super rich chocolate dessert this week. Not that half and half is exactly lowfat, but I was willing to go with rich instead of super rich.

cream in pan eggs and cream

I was a little confused by instructions to heat the cream without any specified temperature, unusual for a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe. After reading everything thoroughly I concluded that it didn’t matter too much because the custard would cook in the oven. So I heated, mixed, and added chocolate

chocolate custard in pan close up

then bread slices

better bread and custard
better in pan

Then I had to wait for it to cool! That’s always the hard part. Finally it was time to unmold and cut the pudding. Or portion it, as the directions said. But how do you portion a round pudding into 8-10 portions which can be cut into 3 slices each? I was baffled, so I tried cutting the pudding crosswise, through a bunch of bread slices (bad idea, very hard to cut through so many crispy slices of bread, and then the little soldier slices want to go their own bready way). So I went with lengthwise, which worked much better.

pudding with slice taken
long way slice
crosswise slice
Crosswise slice

The good news is, they tasted great either way!

RLB New Spin on Rollie Pollies


Here are my rollie pollies. After the chocolate mousse cake, which was quite the marathon, I was more than ready for a quick and easy recipe! But I had no pie dough hanging around, and honestly while Rose’s pie dough isn’t difficult, it takes time to measure and mix and refrigerate and roll and refrigerate again. So I cheated. And paid the price taste-wise, I admit.


The packaged crust was super easy to work with. Just a few quick passes with the rolling pin and it was in shape. I folded it into thirds, sprinkled cinnamon sugar on it, and rolled it into a cylinder.






I had to read the instructions several times to figure out all the rolling, folding, and sprinkling, but it made sense once I moved through everything deliberately.


Slicing the roll into pieces and then flattening them was the part I had to really think hard about before it made sense. I think the cookies would have looked better with Rose’s dough since it would have been thicker and stickier.


Rummaging through my cabinet for more cinnamon sugar I ran across some leftover topping from the coffecake muffins we made a few weeks ago. It added a nice crunch to the cookies.


I’m glad I used the boughten dough, because it was so very easy. As a result I had the mental energy to concentrate on rollie pollie technique. While I wouldn’t buy pie dough for these cookies again, now that I understand how to construct them, I’m looking forward to my next pie so I can use the leftover dough to make some REAL Rollie Pollies.

RLB Heavenly Chocolate Mousse Cake

whole cake lengthwise

The good news is, the dog didn’t eat my sponge cake this time! And there is no bad news, really, although manufacture of this cake did cause a good deal of mumbling along the lines of,  “I can’t believe I have to whip MORE egg whites!” It was all for a delicious cause, at least.

beaten eggs for cakebeaten eggs plus flour

I mixed the egg yolks, half of the whites, and some sugar together (left) then added the dry ingredients (right).

mixing beaten eggs plus flour
folding in the flour mixture

Then I whipped the egg whites to add volume:

beaten egg whites

spooky cake batter
cake batter ready for oven
completed cake, no dog allowed
Light Sponge Cake take II

This time I put the cake in the middle of the peninsula, where the dog can’t reach. I also kept an eye on it (and him).

chocolate squares chocolate and cream

Meanwhile, chopped chocolate and cream together to start the mousse.

melted chocolate and cream sieved melted chocolate and cream

Melting, stirring and straining to make a smooth, rich chocolate base.

egg whites new bowl
Here we go. Another egg white to beat! This is my new bowl, which worked well with the mixer attached to my immersion blender. Then again, it was only one egg white. I hope it works as well when I need to beat multiple egg whites.


cake arranged in loaf pan
The whole “make templates and cut the sponge cake to size” thing worked better than I dared hope.