Rum balls are potent little confections that pack a heady punch of alcohol along with a pleasing jolt of caffeine. Ideally, they are made in late November, so they may fester in a tightly closed tin for several weeks. The chocolate, rum, pecans and coffee need some time to mingle and intensify.
Skiing up Wimpy's, in Grand Teton National Park.
All this early season snow has been very distracting, as it keeps sucking me back up to the mountains to play. This is my excuse for not making rum balls yet. If you are on my rum ball holiday gift list, you may have to suffice for a tin after the holidays, as they will still be just as good and even more special when not competing with the other abundantly available sweets.
Rum balls. Enjoy them in moderation, please.
This is another of my mother's recipes; she always made rum balls at Christmas-time. They were strictly off-limits to children, which made it even more enticing for us to sneak these from the tin at the back of the refrigerator.
Barbancourt 5 star Rhum from Haiti comes in the colorful box. Actually, almost any high quality rum will make good rum balls.
At the risk of sounding like a rum snob, Barbancourt 5 Star Rhum (with an "H") is the preferred rum for this recipe. It is hard to get here, but if you are traveling to the Caribbean be sure to bring some home. Meyer's Dark Rum is an acceptable substitute, and I have also used Mount Gay Rum with good results.
Without further ado, here's the recipe for Rum Balls. They will keep for a month but they won't last that long. It is very nice to have a small bag of these in your pocket, to share with your friends on the gondola, when you are out skiing.
A standing mixer will make these quickly, but they are also easy to mix by hand.
For a printable version of the recipe, please click on the file below it.
This recipe makes 3-4 dozen 1 inch rum balls. I usually double or triple the recipe so there is plenty to share. You can make decaffeinated rum balls by using decaffeinated coffee. You can also use whiskey instead, but then of course it wouldn't be a Rum Ball, would it?
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (1 box Nilla wafers yield roughly 3 cups of crumbs)
2 cups ground nuts (pecans or walnuts) (you'll need about 2 lbs. nuts)
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. white corn syrup
1/4 cup rum (or more)
1/8 cup strong coffee
powdered (confectioner's sugar for rolling
- Place a box of vanilla wafers (such as Nilla) in a food processor and pulse to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Place 2 heaping cups of pecans or walnuts into the same food processor (no need to wash it), and pulse to form fine crumbs. Add to the Nilla wafer crumbs.
- Add the corn syrup, cocoa powder, rum, and coffee. Mix well.
- Roll into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar that you have placed in a shallow bowl.
- Chill for 3 hours. Roll in powdered sugar again.
- Store in an airtight tin in the refrigerator. Share.
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