This recipe is from Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History by John Egerton (University of North Carolina Press 1993). He says that recipes vary only slightly and that this is the standard method.
Makes about 3 dozen balls
1 cup finely crushed vanilla wafer crumbs
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar plus 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 ounces bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Thoroughly combine vanilla wafer crumbs, pecans, 1 cup powdered sugar and cocoa.
In a separate bowl, blend bourbon and corn syrup.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or more.
Sift remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar on a cookie sheet.
When dough is chilled through, shape small bits into balls and roll them in powdered sugar to coat. Store the balls in tins with tight-fitting lids. They keep well refrigerated, or can be frozen.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.