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Rum Balls Recipe & Video

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Rum balls are the perfect adult indulgence. These sweet and chewy no-bake cookies, or should I say candies, are a mixture of crushed cookie crumbs, cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, light corn syrup (liquid glucose syrup), and rum. Sylvia Lovegren tells us in her book Fashionable Food that baked goods laced with alcohol were all the rage in the 1960s, especially Rum and Bourbon Balls. Essentially these two recipes are the same; the only difference being the type of alcohol. Rum Balls are especially popular during the holiday season.

There are a few ways to maximize the flavor of Rum Balls. First, I recommend toasting the nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts) to bring out their wonderful flavor. Then you can either chop them finely with a knife or you can process them in your food processor. Just make sure you do not process the nuts into a paste. While many recipes call for finely crushed vanilla wafers, you can use crushed shortbread cookies, graham cracker crumbs, crushed Digestive Biscuits, crushed ginger cookies, crushed chocolate wafers, or even leftover cake. When it comes to the other ingredients in this recipe, cocoa powder means either unsweetened natural or Dutch-processed. To bind all the dry ingredients together we add corn syrup and rum. Corn Syrup is a thick, sweet syrup made from cornstarch that is available both clear (light) and brown (dark). It is sold in glass or plastic bottles. If you cannot find light corn syrup, you can use liquid glucose syrup, golden syrup, or honey in its place. Rum means dark, white, or light. In fact, although these are called rum balls you could make bourbon balls simply by replacing the rum with bourbon. If you do not want to add alcohol, simply replace it with orange or apple juice.

You will probably notice that after mixing the ingredients together, the batter can be quite sticky. To prevent your hands from becoming a mess, chill the batter for at least 30 minutes before forming into balls. There are so many ways to garnish Rum Balls. They can be dipped in melted chocolate (dark or white), or you can roll them in confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, cocoa powder, sprinkles, or even finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or pistachios). Rum Balls mature in flavor with age. So store for at least a few days before serving, so their flavors have time to mingle and soften. Make sure to store the rum balls in a covered container in the refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks.

Related Recipes You May Like

Bourbon Balls

Fruit & Nut Balls (Sugarplums)

Chocolate Truffles

Peanut Butter Cups

Hazelnut Ganache Cups

Peppermint Patties

Rum Balls: To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Put the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool completely and then chop the nuts finely with a knife or place the nuts in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.

Process the vanilla wafer cookies in the food processor until finely ground. Add the crumbs to the finely chopped pecans. To this mixture add the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder and stir until combined. Add the corn syrup and rum and mix well. Add more rum if necessary. Chill the batter and then shape into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls.

Then roll the rum balls in confectioners sugar, finely chopped nuts, or cocoa powder. If dipping in chocolate, put about 4 ounces (120 grams) of chopped dark chocolate and 1 teaspoon of shortening or butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and dip the balls, one at a time, in the melted chocolate, making sure the entire ball is coated with chocolate. Then, with two spoons or a dipping fork, remove the rum balls from the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the chocolate covered balls on a baking sheet. When all the balls have been dipped in the chocolate, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. Once the chocolate has hardened you can drizzle the rum balls with 1 ounce (30 grams) melted white chocolate.

Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Makes about 40 rum balls. Preparation time 30 minutes.

View comments on this recipe on YouTube


Lovegren, Sylvia. Fashionable Food. MacMillan. New York: 1995.

Rum Balls:

1 1/2 cups (150 grams) toasted pecans, finely chopped (hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds can be used)

1 1/4 cups (125 grams) finely crushed vanilla wafer cookies

1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing)

2 tablespoons (15 grams) cocoa powder (Dutch processed or regular unsweetened)

2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or liquid glucose syrup, golden syrup, or honey)

1/4 cup (60 ml) rum


Confectioners (powdered or icing) Sugar

Finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios)

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Melted Chocolate (Dark or White)

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