Guilty-pleasure desserts in spite of Lent

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Ben Fink via
Southern truffles make perfect indulgences.
While rowdy revelers from around the country gathered in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, we sat here anticipating more snow and wishing the temperature would at least hit the 40s. Although Lent started this week, we think even the man above would take pity on our gray, dreary circumstances and forgive us for indulging in some Bourbon Street-worthy desserts. These two recipes are quick, easy, and only a little sinful.

Bourbon Balls

Makes 25 - 30

28 vanilla wafers, finely crushed (to yield 1 cup)
1 cup shelled pecans, finely chopped
3 tbsp. quality unsweetened cocoa powder
3-5 tbsp. bourbon, preferably small-batch
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup small chocolate sprinkles

Mix crushed wafers, pecans, and cocoa together in a medium bowl. Combine bourbon and corn syrup in a small bowl, add to wafer mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined. Pinch off pieces of chocolate mixture just a bit smaller than the size of a walnut, roll into 1-inch balls, and transfer to a wax paper-lined sheet pan.

Put chocolate sprinkles into a small bowl. Dredge balls in sprinkles, turning to coat completely. If sprinkles are not sticking easily, moisten fingertips with a drop of water, lightly dab surface of ball, then dredge again.

Serve at room temperature. Store bourbon balls in individual paper candy cups, if you like, in an airtight container in a cool spot or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe from

Bourbon not quite your thing? Perhaps this 15-minute, rum-soaked recipe is more to your liking.

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Martha Stewart
Even fruit turns sinful.
Bananas Foster 

Serves 4

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
4 firm ripe bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum
vanilla ice cream

Melt butter with sugar in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until color deepens, about 3 minutes. Add bananas, cut sides down. Cook, swirling occasionally to make sure bananas are coated, 3-1/2 minutes. Flip bananas and cook 2-1/2 minutes more.

Remove skillet from heat. Add rum. Return to medium heat and cook about 10 seconds to allow rum to heat up. If using a gas stove, carefully tip the pan away from you until the vapors from the rum ignite. (Alternatively, light the rum with a long match). When the flames subside, remove pan from heat. Serve bananas topped with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

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