Whether you’re baking for the holidays or just making sweets for fun, rum balls are an low-investment, high-reward treat. You can whip these treats together in less than an hour and your result is a rich, sweet treat with a bite of rum. These would be a great treat for a Christmas party, a girls night in, or for a day of movie marathons.Jump to Recipe
My recipe is very slightly adapted from this one at AllRecipes. These treats are not baked and do contain alcohol, so they are best reserved for adults-only gatherings. I reduced the amount of rum used in my balls and they definitely still have a “bite”. For a much lighter rum flavor, I recommend using still less rum than in my recipe.
Start by crushing your Nilla wafers to as fine a powder as you possibly can. If doing this by hand, I recommend poking a hole in the bag of Nilla wafers to release the air before placing the bag in a Ziplock to contain any crumbs. Crush the cookies with a rolling pin, a meat tenderizer, or your fists. If you have a food processor, use it instead. It will save you time and you will have a much more consistent final crumb texture. Once your wafers are completely crushed, place them in a mixing bowl with your powdered sugar and pecans. (The pecans are optional, but they add so much to the texture that my pecan-disliking husband insisted we keep them in the recipe.)
Melt your chocolate chips and corn syrup together, either in the microwave or over low heat on your stove. This will melt into a paste instead of the creamy melted chocolate you may be used to.
Combine the melted chocolate chip mixture with your Nilla wafers, powdered sugar, and pecans. Stir in rum. Stir this until thoroughly combined, then place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to allow the batter to become more firm.
Remove batter from refrigerator and roll into balls. Roll the finished balls in either cocoa powder or powdered sugar before serving.
The rum flavor in these treats will intensify over the course of a few hours to days. These will remain fresh for one week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and for several months if stored in the freezer.
A brief note on the rum: the type of you use does matter. I did an experiment with my rum balls, using Malibu (a rum infused with coconut liqueur) in the powdered-sugar-dusted balls, and using Appleton Estate Signature Blend (a dark Jamaican rum) in the balls dusted with cocoa powder. The coconut flavor of the Malibu was completely lost amidst the other flavors in the rum balls. The Appleton rum offered a slightly more rich flavor, which both my taste-tester-husband and I preferred. Any type of rum you use will still provide a boozy bite, but a darker rum will give you a more well-rounded flavor profile.
- 1 box Nilla wafers
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ cup rum
- 1 cup chopped pecans optional
- 1 cup powdered sugar plus more for dusting
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Crush the Nilla wafers, or blitz them to powder in a food processor.
- Combine chocolate chips and corn syrup; melt them in your microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the chocolate has completely melted, remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar, rum and cookie crumbs (and pecans, if using). Place mixture in the refrigerator for approximately 15 minutes, or until the mixture has stiffened.
- Roll mixture into balls. Roll the balls in powdered sugar or cocoa powder before allowing to rest on wax paper.
- The rum flavor will intensify over the course of a few hours to days. These will remain fresh for one week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and for several months if stored in the freezer.
- I recommend using Jamaican rum for this recipe, though any type you have will still impart a boozy flavor.
- For balls with less “bite”: instead of 1/2 cup of rum, use 1/4 cup rum and 1/4 cup water.