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Rum Balls (VRP 014)

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Rum Balls are a classic no-bake dessert that combines the rich flavors of vanilla wafers, pecans, and cocoa with the kick of rum or bourbon. These bite-sized treats are perfect for holiday gatherings, parties, or a special treat at home.

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Rum BallsRum Balls

Front of the recipe card for Rum Balls or Bourbon Balls.

There is a notation that states “unbaked.”

Rum Balls

Back of the recipe card for Rum Balls or Bourbon Balls.

I wonder if the scribble on the back of this recipe card is just a random accident or if a child or grandchild decided to use it for drawing.

Vintage Recipe Box 014

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Food History

Rum balls originated in Europe and have been a festive treat for many years, especially popular during the holiday season. Their easy preparation and rich, boozy flavor make them a favorite among adults. The combination of crushed cookies, nuts, and alcohol rolled into confectioner’s sugar is a decadent and convenient way to enjoy dessert.

Recipe Discussion

This recipe begins with a base of vanilla wafer crumbs, which provide a sweet, crunchy texture. Pecans add a nutty depth and are complemented by the richness of cocoa. The confectioner’s sugar sweetens the mixture, while white corn syrup acts as a binding agent. The addition of rum or bourbon infuses the balls with a warm, boozy flavor that enhances all the other ingredients. Once mixed, the dough is shaped into balls using a tablespoon or cookie scoop for uniform size and then optionally rolled in additional confectioner’s sugar for a sweet finish.

Serving Suggestions

Rum balls are best served at room temperature and can be presented in mini cupcake liners for an elegant touch. They pair wonderfully with coffee, tea, or even milk. For an adult dessert platter, serve alongside other liquor-infused treats like chocolate liqueur truffles or bourbon-soaked cherries.

Preparation Tips

  • Uniform Balls: Using a cookie scoop helps create uniformly sized rum balls and makes the process cleaner and more efficient.
  • Flavor Development: Allow the rum balls to sit in an airtight container for at least 24 hours before serving. This resting period helps the flavors meld together and intensifies the rum or bourbon taste.
  • Storage: Store rum balls in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They can also be refrigerated and will keep for up to two weeks.

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Rum Balls Recipe

Rum Balls

Rum Balls


  • 1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup rum or bourbon


  1. Mix crumbs, pecan, sugar, and cocoa
  2. Add syrup and rum
  3. Use 1 tablespoon for each, shape into balls (TIP: use a cookie scoop for perfect rum balls)
  4. If desired, roll balls in additional confectioner's sugar
  5. Store in airtight container

Rum Balls offer a delightful blend of textures and flavors, making them perfect for an easy yet sophisticated dessert. Whether whipping up a batch for a festive occasion or treating yourself, these rum balls will impress with their boozy kick and sweet, nutty flavors.

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