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No-Bake Classic Rum Balls

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Made with ground pecan, cookie crumbs, and of course rum, the flavor of these No-Bake Classic Rum Balls are classic for a reason!


Hi Bold Bakers!

If you’ve never had classic Classic Rum Balls before, get ready. These one-bite balls are one of my favorite holiday treats, as the flavors are everything Christmas, and they are so simple to make — so all of your holiday entertaining becomes just that much easier.

Made with ground pecan, cookie crumbs, and of course rum, the flavor of these little balls are classic for a reason! My recipe is based on the original from the 50s, but is turned up with great quality ingredients and a few extra tips that bring out all that nutty flavor.

How to make vanilla wafer crumbs

The base of these Classic Rum Ball Cookies is a fine powder of vanilla wafer that has been crushed. I like to grind my cookies into crumbs in the food processor, but you can do this by hand. These cookie crumbs are dry and sweet with just a hint of vanilla. They compliment the flavor of the toasted pecans and lovely rum perfectly.

How to toast and chop pecans for Rum Balls

Classic Rum Ball Cookies aren’t complete without toasted pecans and rum. I know it’s one extra step, but it’s super important to toast the pecans before adding them into the balls, as this really brings out the buttery quality of the nuts.

To toast the nuts, I roast them dry in a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 10 minutes. After roasting, I roughly chop in the food processor like I do the cookie crumbs, but you can do this by hand with a large sharp knife.

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What if i don’t like pecans?

It’s okay if you don’t like pecans, or are allergic to them because you can replace them with almond meal, ground walnuts, or ground cashews. Pecans go really well with rum, though, so try it with pecans if you can!

What if I don’t want to use alcohol?

While the rum is what makes these Classic Rum Ball Cookies, I always like giving you Bold Bakers the option to make my recipes without alcohol. If you don’t want to use rum, feel free to substitute it with a fruit juice of your choice, perhaps orange, apple, or cranberry juice. That said, it will alter the overall flavor, and will turn into just Cookie Balls — still delicious, though!

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4.16 from 13 votes
No-Bake Classic Rum Ball Cookies Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Made with ground pecan, cookie crumbs, and of course rum, the flavor of these No-Bake Classic Rum Ball Cookies are classic for a reason!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20 Cookie Balls
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (3oz/85g) vanilla wafers*, ground into crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2oz/213g) pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 cup (4oz/115g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons rum, orange or cranberry juice
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the cookie crumbs, 1 cup (5oz/142g) pecans (preferably toasted), powdered sugar, cocoa, maple syrup, and rum.

  2. Mix until a sticky dough forms. At this point chill the cookie mixture for about 2 hours.

  3. Once chilled, scoop the cookie mixture into balls. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop a level tablespoon of the mix then roll into a ball. Repeat the process until all of the balls are rolled.

  4. Once all of the balls have been rolled coat each one in the remaining 1/2 cup (2 ½oz/71g) pecans. 

  5. Cover and store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. 

Watch the Recipe Video!

Recipe Notes

*Vanilla wafers: Feel free to use any plain cookie or biscuit (e.g./ rich tea, NICE biscuits etc)

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Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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12 Comments

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  1. Susan on December 24, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Yes, a bit crumbly, I had to add extra maple syrup and rum to get the right consistency. I remember my Mother making these for our Christmas Eve parties. Loved them and hope these turn out as I remember them.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 26, 2018 at 7:42 am

      I hope so too, Susan.

      Happy Christmas!
      Gemma.

  2. Ramie on December 23, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Hi, would love to make these, but would imitation rum extract work? Really want the rum flavor but not the alcohol.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 23, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Ramie! You can use rum extract but only use a small amount, say 1 or 2 teaspoons. Just err on the side of caution because it’s an imitation flavor.

  3. Wilma Manasse on December 21, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Your rum ball recipe sounds really good. Don’t have the right cookies to make into crumbs, but I do have ginger cookies. Do you think those would beOK?

    I always look for your recipes to make anything and what
    I try are always a keeper. Thanks to you I’m now classified as a good cook.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 22, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      Hello! I am delighted to hear that! yes ginger cookies will work for this too. Enjoy and happy holidays!

  4. Carol Silberfein on December 21, 2018 at 3:59 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I made these yummy rum balls last night. I refrigerated the dough for 2 hours in a glass bowl and put a sheet of wax paper over the top of the bowl to cover the bowl. Should I have used something else to cover the bowl? I was wondering this because my dough was a bit crumbly. Please advise because I want to make this again soon.
    Thanks,
    Carol

    • Gemma Stafford on December 21, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Hmmm if they are feeling a bit dry you can add just a touch more rum or liquid. Enjoy!

  5. Claudia on December 20, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Hii! Thanks for sharing the recipe!! Could I replace the maple syrup for honey or condensed milk? Hugs for both!! ????

    • Gemma Stafford on December 21, 2018 at 12:07 am

      Hi Claudia,
      Yes, and I think the honey would be best. Agave too should work really beautifully.
      Seasons greetings to you and your family,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Edline Rose on December 20, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Hi Gemma,

    This recipe came right on time! I’m looking to make all of your Christmas cookie balls as gifts but don’t want to spend too too much on extra ingredients. Is there’s a substitute I could use for the maple syrup in this recipe like agave nectar perhaps (that’s wot I have on hand)? Or would the flavor profile only work with maple? Thank you!
    Best

    • Gemma Stafford on December 20, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Edline, Agave would work just fine. It’s all about bringing the dough together. Please do let me know how you get on. 🙂

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