1 1/2tablespoonsmolasseshoney, or pure maple syrup (I like molasses for the intense flavor)
For rolling: Crushed cookie crumbssprinkles, sanding or coarse sugar, finely chopped nuts (I don't recommend powdered sugar, as it becomes soggy)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in a single layer. Bake until the pecans are toasted and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Immediate transfer to a cutting board to cool.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the cookie crumbs (if you are starting with whole cookies, make the crumbs now, then double-check to make sure you have 2 1/2 cups).
Add the cooled nuts and salt. Continue to pulse, until the nuts are finely ground but not completely pulverized (you want them in small bits but for them to still have a little bit of texture).
In a small bowl, whisk together the bourbon, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and molasses until smooth.
Add to the food processor bowl and pulse until just combined.
Scoop the mixture into a bowl and give it a few stirs if the ingredients are not evenly combined. Press it into a mass. Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the crumbs to absorb some of the liquid.
Arrange anything you'd like to roll the balls in a shallow dish (a low bowl works too).
Portion the dough by tablespoonfuls (I like to use a tablespoon scoop like this) and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in toppings of your choice, then transfer to a storage container (or enjoy IMMEDIATELY!).
TO STORE: Store bourbon balls in an airtight storage container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you are storing the balls at room temperature: cover the container if you prefer your balls more moist. For more of a crust, leave them uncovered.
TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired.
LESS BOOZY VARIATION: Reduce the alcohol to 1/4 or 1/3 cup. If the mixture is too dry, you can splash in apple juice or orange juice to make up for the moisture difference.
BOURBON BALLS WITHOUT ALCOHOL: Substitute orange juice or apple juice. Apple cider would also be fun to try.