Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where's the Rum Gone?

Into rum balls, of course (and, no, I can't help my dorky references to things)!  This is by far one of my favorite holiday season treats, and since I'm gearing up for my annual holiday baking frenzy (*twitch*), I thought I'd share with all of you.  I used to make these with my mom around Christmas, and it's a recipe that she used to do with her parents. It's quite the family tradition.  And if rummy chocolate goodness isn't enough of a reason to make these, they're also super-easy.

What You'll Need
Large mixing bowl                                                          Measuring spoons
Mixing spoon                                                                   Small bowl
Measuring cups (liquid and dry)                                    Cookie sheet
Cutting board                                                                  Knife for chopping
1 box Vanilla wafers                                                       2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup pecans                                                                    2 Tbsp Karo's light corn syrup
1 cup confectioner's sugar + some for rolling                1/4 cup rum

Now Let's Make Rum Balls!
Haley smash!
We'll start with a little prep work.  Put a handful of vanilla wafers into a sandwich baggie. Press out all the air, and crush the cookies by using a rolling pin. (Or, if you're short a rolling pen at the moment, anything that's handy, like your cookbook). You don't have to crush them to powder, but you don't want any large chunks of cookies, either.  Once you've crushed them, pour the crumbs into a measuring cup.  Repeat the process until you have 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.  A handful of wafers equals about 1/2 cup of crumbs, so you won't be using the entire box of vanilla wafers (so feel free to munch on a few). Add the crumbs to your mixing bowl once you have the required amount.

Demonstrating the lever motion
Next, put a handful of pecans on your cutting board and begin chopping them up.  I find a large knife works better for this, and you can rock it back and forth or use it with a lever motion to most effectively chop the nuts. (Whatever your method, just watch your fingers). Like the wafers, you don't want the nuts to get chopped too fine, but you don't want any large chunks either.  Chop enough pecans to make 1 cup and add them to your mixing bowl.

Now, add 2 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 cup confectioner's sugar to your mixing bowl.  Stir the ingredients around a bit.  Then, add 2 Tbsp of Karo's light corn syrup (no Southern girl worth her salt would use anything else) and 1/4 cup of rum.  The brand of rum isn't important, but don't use anything spiced or flavored; just plain rum, thanks.

Mix this up until it's nice and goopy.  You'll have to really work at it, since it's a fairly dry recipe.  Your end product will be on the sticky side rather than the liquidy side.  Make sure to routinely scrape the sides of the bowl and fold over the dough to ensure a thorough mix.  The dry ingredients will want to stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Set the dough aside.

Fill your small bowl with cold water.  Dip your fingers in the water to wet them, then take a pinch of the dough and form it into a small ball. The ball should be about the size of a large olive (according to my grandmother's recipe, which sounds a little snooty to me). When formed, place the ball on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Repeat this process until all the dough has been used, neatly lining the balls up on the sheet.  Make sure to periodically wet your fingers, as this will make forming the dough easier and prevent it from sticking too much to your hands. Place the cookie sheet of rum balls in the freezer until they are firm (about 30 minutes to an hour).

Dump the water out of your small bowl and dry it thoroughly.  Fill the bowl with a small amount of confectioner's sugar (about 1/4 cup) for the rum balls to be rolled in.  (You can also use chocolate sprinkles if you prefer, but if you do you'll need to do this step before freezing). Remove the rum balls from the freezer and, one by one, roll them in the confectioner's sugar.  Place the finished rum balls in a sealable container as you go.

Refrigerate the rum balls until you are ready to serve them.  These are great around the holidays, and make for an excellent homemade Christmas gift.  This recipe can easily be adjusted to make rum balls in bulk. (I've been known to do quadruple batches).  As is, it make about 34 rum balls.  Enjoy!

   Pin It


  1. MMMmmmmmm....Hi, it's Haley's Mom. I snitched a couple before they got dipped in the powdered sugar and they were as good as I remember!


You know you want to . . .