Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
Sift together 1 cup powdered sugar, next 4 ingredients, and, if desired, ground red pepper. Stir together bourbon and sorghum. Gradually add powdered sugar mixture to bourbon mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in vanilla wafers and toasted pecans; stir 1 minute. (Place a small amount of mixture in palm of hand, and make a fist around mixture, testing to be sure dough will hold its shape. If not, continue to stir in 20-second intervals.)
Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.
Chill 1 hour or until slightly firm. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.
*Molasses, honey, or cane syrup may be substituted.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Hershey's Dutch Processed Cocoa at one tasting and Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa at another.