I recently rediscovered why Katheryne Potts won first place in The Gazette’s 2016 Holiday Dessert Recipe Contest for her (Great-Great) Grandma Lunn’s Bonbons. And the reason I revisited her recipe is because Linda Peterson had kept a clipping of it all these years — and couldn’t get it to work.
Peterson first attempted to make the bonbons this past January.
“I tried this recipe,” she emailed at the time, “and the dry ingredients were so much greater than the liquid (22 ounces of Nilla wafer, to start) that it was very much like sand and wouldn’t roll at all.”
I remembered the recipe, because I had questioned the proportion of dry ingredients to wet when I first saw it. It seemed impossible that it would work as advertised.
But it did, and Potts wouldn’t have won if it didn’t! However, I couldn’t remember any of the preparation details, and I no longer had a copy of the recipe. So Peterson sent it to me.
I bought all the ingredients and was set to make a batch of the bonbons. Regrettably, the ingredients remained stacked on a side table in my kitchen until a few weeks ago when my 50-something daughter spotted them and asked why they were there. When she saw the recipe, she said she adds rum to the same recipe to make rum balls.
It was clearly time for me to make these bonbons. And yes, I discovered, the recipe still works despite how it sounds. But you’ll need a food processor and a powerful stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
The processor is for the two (11-ounce) boxes of Nilla wafers, which must be very finely ground — like sand, as Peterson noted.
And the mixer is a must for joining all these ingredients together. Place the ground wafers and walnuts into the mixer bowl. When the melted chocolate chips are combined with the granulated sugar, corn syrup and orange juice, the mixture turns into an extremely stiff dough-like ball. Add the chocolate mixture to the mixer bowl and start mixing at a low speed to slowly knead everything into the chocolate dough.
Ultimately, the mixture came together and, voila — there was a nice, big ball of chocolate dough ready to be shaped into a gazillion bonbons. Think about 96 walnut-size balls off yumminess.
I’ll be keeping this recipe close from now on. The bonbons can be packed into zip-locked bags and frozen for several months — making for easy, quick holiday giving when the time comes. Shout-outs to Potts and Peterson!
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