Kahlua Balls

Kahlua Balls

Kahlua Balls

Scrolling through my massive list of recipes to try, the Kahlua Balls jumped out at me. Good way to use up some of that homemade Kahlua I tried last summer!

(Note: I never blogged about the homemade Kahlua, but here are a couple notes if you use the linked recipe: you can replace the chocolate liqueur with 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, and using coarsely ground coffee beans rather than dried espresso gave a richer flavor–I tried both methods.)

So think graham crackers spread with chocolate and doused with a bit of Kahlua, but imagine all that rolled up into a ball. Yep, that’s what these are like. As you bite into a dense ball of sweetness, that Kahlua flavor pops out at you.

Good news: these come together easily and require no baking. A small cookie scoop makes the process go much more quickly, by the way.

So if you need something to bring to a party or to grace your holiday cookie tray, give these little sparkling balls of flavor a try.

Kahlua Balls

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Yield: about 50 1-inch balls


  • 3 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped semisweet chocolate (I used 4 oz. dark chocolate and 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua
  • 3 tbsp. brewed coffee or espresso
  • 3 tbsp. agave (or corn syrup)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar in which to roll balls


  1. In a large bowl or food processor, mix crushed graham crackers, chopped chocolate, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. (I actually roughly chopped the dark chocolate bar first, then placed that and the semisweet chips in the food processor and pulsed until finely chopped, then I added the other dry ingredients and pulsed until combined).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the Kahlua, brewed coffee, agave, and vanilla extract. Add to the food processor bowl; pulse until the dough forms a ball.
  3. Shape into 1-inch balls (a small cookie scoop speeds up this process). Roll each ball in granulated sugar.
  4. Store in an airtight container, either in the refrigerator or on the counter.

SOURCE: adapted from Sugarcrafter

Kahlua Cheesecake


During our visit to Peru back in March (which I have yet to share with you all), we met a lovely duo of ladies, a mother and daughter from Seattle, Washington, who both love food as much as I do. Over lunch one day, a discussion of dessert ensued, to my delight.  In particular, the description of a Kahlua Cheesecake caught my attention and remained on my mind after our return. When my birthday rolled around in May, I decided to make this cheesecake in honor of the day (that’s just an excuse to pig out on dessert, to tell you the truth!). I didn’t have the recipe, so I culled together parts of some of my recipes as well as scoured the internet for ideas. Let me tell ya, this is one fun, fancy, and delicious cheesecake!


It is layered with a graham cracker crust, decadent ganache, a thick and dense cheesecake, a topping of sour cream, and finally a drizzle of more ganache. See why it had me dreaming of it for several weeks?


Yes, it takes some time to put this all together, but the result is well worth it! You can break the process down into several days to make it easier: crust and ganache layer one day; cheesecake and sour cream layers another day; and decorating a third day. Again, the final cheesecake more than makes up for all the effort.

Oh, this freezes well, too, and tastes surprisingly refreshing straight from the freezer!


 Kahlua Cheesecake

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Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground graham crackers  (FYI: 9 graham crackers = 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Ganache Layer over Crust

  • 4 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped (I used Baker’s squares)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. Kahlua
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Cheesecake Filling with Kahlua Flavoring

  • 2 lbs (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 3-4 tbsp. Kahlua
  • 4 tsp. (up to 3 tbsp for stronger cappuccino flavor) instant espresso powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Sour Cream Topping

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Ganache Drizzle for Top of Cheesecake

  • 2 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • tiny pinch of salt


Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Either roast pecans in a pan on the stovetop or roast in 350 degree F oven for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. If using whole graham crackers, break them into pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with toasted pecans; pulse until very fine crumbs are created. If using the box of graham cracker crumbs (found in baking section of grocery store), then pulse the pecans in a food processor until you have finely ground pecans, followed by adding graham crumbs.
  3. Add cinnamon and pinch of salt; pulse a few times until combined.
  4. With food processor in continuous pulse mode, drizzle melted butter over crumbs, pulsing until combined.
  5. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of 9 or 10-inch nonstick springform pan. Use a tamper or flat-bottomed drinking glass or ramekin to flatten the crust, creating an even layer. Use the back of a spoon to press flat the edges.
  6. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes; in the meantime, start making the ganache layer.

Ganache Layer:

  1. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a large saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat; add chopped chocolate, Kahlua, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until chocolate melts and ganache is thick and smooth.
  3. Pour over bottom of prepared crust. Chill until firm (use freezer for 30 minutes if you are in a hurry).

Cheesecake Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Kahlua, espresso powder, and vanilla; stir until the powder has dissolved and then set aside.
  3. Using mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Add sugar and flour, beating until blended.
  5. Beat in eggs and yolks until smooth.
  6. Stir in whipping cream and Kahlua mixture.
  7. Pour batter over chilled ganache layer.
  8. Place cheesecake pan on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills); bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees F and bake for 55-60 minutes more. If cheesecake browns too quickly, loosely cover it with foil.

Sour Cream Topping

  1. While cheesecake is baking, blend sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  2. When the cheesecake has completed baking at 225 degrees for the 55-60 minute time period, spread the sour cream mixture over the cheesecake. Increase temperature to 350 degrees F; bake 7 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a cooking rack until completely cooled, about 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, still in springform pan.
  4. When ready to drizzle with ganache, carefully release cheesecake from springform pan.

Ganache Drizzle for Top of Cheesecake:

  1. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a large saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat; add chopped chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until chocolate melts and ganache is thick and smooth.
  3. Drizzle ganache over top of cheesecake for a final decorative touch. Do this by using a fork dipped in ganache and drizzle over top of cheesecake; or place ganache in piping bag or ziploc bag and snip off a pointed end, then drizzle.
  4. Refrigerate completed cheesecake and allow ganache to cool before serving.
  5. Cheesecake will keep in refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cheesecake also freezes well (whole or in slices); just wrap in plastic wrap then in foil.

SOURCES: cheesecake recipe & ganache from a high school buddy; some ideas adapted from Handle the Heat; and thanks to the inspiration in the first place from Melanie and Sarah

Ice Cream Sunday: Kahlua & Amaretto Ice Cream


I usually don’t have tons of alcohol hanging around the house, but I do keep a bottle of Kahlua on hand for the espresso ice cream I love to make. And during the holidays, I had purchased a mini bottle of Amaretto for a cookie recipe which I never got around to making. Lo and behold, the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream book contains a recipe using both types of alcohol, and boy is it delish! You get the coffee flavor from the Kahlua with a nutty kick from the amaretto. Yummy! If I can manage to not eat it all straight from the container, I have an idea or two for using this in other dessert recipes…

By the way, when I make Ben & Jerry’s recipes, the whipping of the eggs with the sugar makes for a very light and fluffy ice cream which is always super easy to scoop, even straight out of the freezer.


Kahlua & Amaretto Ice Cream

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  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 1/4 cup amaretto liqueur


  1. Using a hand mixer, mix the eggs in a large bowl at low-medium speed until light and fluffly, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Continuing mixing, adding sugar a little at a time, until completely blended, about 1 minute more.
  3. Pour in cream, milk, Kahula, and Amaretto; continue mixing until blended.
  4. Transfer ice cream base to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

SOURCE: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

Ice Cream Sunday: Espresso Ice Cream

As the ice cream machine finished churning, I scooped a taste…and another…then another…and a few more.

It took all my will power to resist eating the entire quart of this espresso ice cream. Let me tell ya, I was sorely tempted to!

As I forcefully pulled myself away from the container and left the house to run errands, the flavor teased my thoughts all day and I longed to return home and attack the frozen treat with gusto.

I kept thinking about the espresso shouting with robustness and the Kahlua subtly sighing with each spoonful, about the half-and-half whispering with velvety richness. Oh, I couldn’t get home soon enough!

I’m smitten with the full-bodied, rich espresso flavor. Thus far, it ranks second in ice creams I’ve made this summer, the chocolate peanut butter maintaining first place. It’s a close call, though.

Espresso Ice Cream

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  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 6 extra-large egg yolks (I used 8 large eggs instead)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. ground espresso coffee beans
  • 1 tbsp. coffee liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) chocolate-covered espresso beans, chopped (I left this out; I prefer my ice cream without frozen chunks of goodies)


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the half-and-half on medium-low heat until it forms bubbles around the edge of the pan and steam starts to rise.
  2. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until mixed.
  3. Slowly add the hot half-and-half to the egg yolks until combined, creating a custard base.
  4. Pour the custard back into the pan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5-10 minutes, until is it thickened and the cream coats the back of the spoon (170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer).
  5. Pour the custard through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Add the ground espresso beans, coffee liqueur, and vanilla. Refrigerate until completely chilled (preferably overnight).
  6. Pour into ice-cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. If using chocolate-covered espresso beans, mix them in the last two minutes during churning. Spoon into a container and allow to freeze for a few hours.

SOURCE: slightly adapted from Food Network (Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa)