Monday, May 27, 2024

Festive & Easy Rum Balls


Made from pecans, Biscoff cookies, confectioners’ sugar, and—yes, rum!—rum balls are a grownup-favorite festive treat that are easy to make and fun to gift. They taste even better after a day or two in the refrigerator, so I recommend making them in advance. Perfect little holiday treat for the cookie tray!

overhead close-up shot of rum balls coated in various toppings.

Let’s give the grownups some credit around the holidays. We have a LOT to do in a short amount of time. Between decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, planning for guests or travel, hosting/attending parties… it’s a fun time of year, but also the busiest. So let’s do a little something especially for the grownups for a change… let’s make rum balls!

[SIDE NOTE: While not strictly a cookie recipe (after all, I do have a different version of these in my Sally’s Candy Addiction book), I decided they qualify for Sally’s Cookie Palooza because they’re often included on a holiday cookie tray. And they are made with crushed cookies, so… let’s just roll with it. Pa-RUM-pum-pum-YUM.]

close-up of rum ball with bite taken out.

Why You’ll Love These Boozy Rum Balls

  • 2-bite little treats
  • Make-ahead friendly—in fact, they’re even better when they’re made ahead!
  • Quick and easy no-bake recipe
  • Using Biscoff cookies elevates these to the best rum balls you’ve ever tasted
  • Dairy-free, egg-free recipe

Only 7 Ingredients

  • Pecans: You can use large pecan halves or smaller pieces; either way, they’ll get finely chopped with the cookies in the food processor.
  • Biscoff cookies (or Nilla Wafers): My team and I tested making rum balls with Nilla Wafers, which is what most rum ball recipes use, but the Biscoff ones were the clear winner in a taste test. By far the favorite! If you’d prefer to use Nilla Wafers instead of Biscoff, see recipe Notes below.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Sweetens the rum balls.
  • Cocoa powder: I used high-quality Guittard brand dutched cocoa powder here, rather than the basic cocoa powder I usually use for baking (Hershey’s). This is not sponsored at all, but we really noticed a difference when using the high-quality stuff. You only need 2 Tablespoons (10g) in the recipe. See what your grocery store carries, and select a higher quality product if you can.
  • Rum: I love these with spiced rum, especially around the holidays, but you could also use dark rum or even coconut rum, whichever is your preference.
  • Vanilla Extract: Homemade vanilla extract would be great in these rum balls!
  • Honey: A little honey is the “glue” that makes the mixture come together.
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bowls of measured ingredients including Biscoff biscuit cookies, spiced rum, pecans, confectioners' sugar, and cocoa powder.

How to Make Rum Balls

Start by grinding the Biscoff cookies and pecans together in a food processor into a fine crumb. Add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer the dry mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir well with a silicone spatula until a moist dough forms.

Very easy, but I do have some success tips below.

biscoff cookie and pecan crumbs in food processor and shown again in a bowl with wet ingredients added.

You don’t need to refrigerate the mixture before rolling, because you want the dough to be sticky, so the coating will stick to the rum balls. But let it sit for about 10 minutes before rolling into balls, to give the crumbs some time to absorb the liquid.

Scoop a Tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. Give it a roll in one of your coatings of choice (suggestions below!), and place it on a tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

wet dough mixture in glass bowl with blue spatula and shown again with a Tablespoon measure.

Add a Coating

This is where you can have some fun with all the different ways you can coat the rum balls to make them look pretty! Here are a few recommendations:

  • Finely shredded/desiccated unsweetened coconut
  • Confectioners’ sugar (roll rum balls in this twice, like with snowball cookies)
  • Finely chopped nuts
  • Sprinkles
  • Biscoff cookie crumbs
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dunk in melted chocolate, like we use for chocolate peanut butter balls and Oreo balls

After coating, place the tray of rum balls in the refrigerator. These taste even better after a day or two of chilling, when the flavors really meld together and mellow out the rum flavor.


Rum Ball FAQs

Can I make these without a food processor?

You can use pecan meal (already ground pecans) if you can find it in the store, and crush the cookies in a zip-top bag, using a rolling pin and some arm muscle. Use a whisk to combine all the dry ingredients.

Will rum balls get me drunk?

Because they’re not baked, the alcohol does not cook off. But you’d have to eat A LOT of them to feel that alcohol effect!

Can I make them nut-free?

While I have not tested this, you could likely just use more Biscoff cookie crumbs. See recipe Note below.

Can I use a different liquor instead of rum?

Yes. Bourbon is another popular choice.

Do I have to chill these before serving them?

No, but I highly recommend it for the best taste and texture.

Do rum balls taste boozy?

Right after making the rum balls, yes, they taste quite boozy. However, give them a day or 2 and then the Biscoff, cocoa powder, and pecan flavors really begin to shine. They are SO much tastier after the flavors mingle!

pile of rum balls coated in pecans, coconut, and chocolate sprinkles on white plate.

Dos and Don’ts for the Best Rum Balls

  • Do use whichever type of rum you prefer the taste of—dark, spiced, coconut…
  • Don’t let the rum balls sit for too long before rolling them in your coatings. They’ll get too dry and the coating won’t stick as well.
  • Do keep them out of reach of children! They look like chocolate truffles, especially if coated in sprinkles.
  • Don’t use a food processor to combine the wet ingredients with the dry. The mixture quickly becomes overprocessed, and overly moist and greasy. Transfer the dry mixture to a mixing bowl and use a silicone spatula to stir in the wet ingredients by hand.
  • Do chill them in the refrigerator for a day or so, for the best tasting rum balls.
  • Don’t eat too many at once!
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rum balls in mini muffin cup liners on Christmas plate with red handles.

Sally’s Cookie Palooza

This recipe is part of my annual cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:

and here are 75+ Christmas cookies with all my best success guides & tips.

Print

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overhead close-up shot of rum balls coated in various toppings.

Festive & Easy Rum Balls


  • Author:
    Sally


  • Prep Time:
    45 minutes


  • Cook Time:
    0 minutes


  • Total Time:
    2 hours, 45 minutes (includes refrigerating)


  • Yield:
    30–36


  • Category:
    Dessert


  • Method:
    Mixing


  • Cuisine:
    American


Description

Rum balls are a grownup-favorite festive treat that are easy to make and fun to gift. These no-bake, boozy rum balls taste even better after a day or two in the refrigerator, so I recommend making them in advance.



Instructions

  1. Place the pecans and Biscoff cookies in a food processor, and process until finely ground into crumbs. Add confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, and pulse a few times until combined.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. (Do not do this step in the food processor.) Add the spiced rum, vanilla, and honey. Stir with a spatula until completely combined into a wet dough. Let sit for 10 minutes to give the crumbs time to absorb the liquid. During that time, place your coatings of choice in small bowls, for rolling.
  3. Scoop a Tablespoon of the mixture (about 20g) and roll into a ball. Mixture will be a little wet, that’s ok. Roll the ball in coating and place on a lined baking sheet or tray. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Refrigerate the rum balls for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days. I strongly recommend at least 1 day for best taste and texture. If refrigerating for longer than a few hours, cover tightly.
  5. When serving, you can place the rum balls in mini baking cups to keep any loose coatings from getting too messy.


Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: These rum balls taste even better after a couple days in the refrigerator! To freeze: Place them in a freezer-friendly container or zip-top bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor | Glass Mixing Bowls | Silicone Spatula | Silicone Baking Mat or Parchment Paper Sheets | Mini Baking Cups
  3. Nut-Free: For a nut-free version, I recommend skipping the pecans and adding 12-14 more Biscoff cookies (or about 90g).
  4. Other Nuts: Feel free to replace the pecans with walnuts. I have not tested other nuts in this recipe, so let me know if you do!
  5. Substituting Nilla Wafers for Biscoff: If you’d prefer to use Nilla Wafers instead of Biscoff, use one 11-ounce (311g) box to yield about 3 cups of crumbs. Keep in mind the rum balls will no longer be dairy- and egg-free if using Nilla Wafers.
  6. Cocoa Powder: You can use either unsweetened natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. I recommend using a high-quality cocoa powder for best taste. I used high-quality Guittard brand dutched cocoa powder. This is not sponsored at all, but we really noticed a difference when using the high-quality stuff. See what your grocery store carries, and select a higher quality product if you can.
  7. Rum: I love these with spiced rum, especially around the holidays, but you could also use dark rum or even coconut rum, whichever is your preference. I usually use Bicardi spiced rum.
  8. Non-Alcoholic Version: You could replace the rum with half orange juice and half apple juice/cider (1/4 cup/60ml each), but obviously the taste will change. Or I recommend making these no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs instead!
  9. COATINGS: For coatings, 1 cup (100g-130g) is usually enough for the whole batch of rum balls. Options for coatings include desiccated unsweetened coconut, finely chopped pecans/nuts, sprinkles, Biscoff cookie crumbs, confectioners’ sugar (the balls stay a little sticky when using confectioners’ sugar), or unsweetened cocoa powder (82g). You can also do a few different coatings in 1 batch, like the pictured rum balls. Use a smaller amount of each coating, such as 1/4 cup.



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