Holiday Rum Balls!

In Desserts, Recipes by Frances Largeman Roth

Makes about 32 balls

Hello Friends,

I hope you’re all wrapping up work and starting your holiday celebrations. With Chanukah so early this year, it feels like we already did the holidays, yet Christmas is just days away. I didn’t really grow up celebrating Christmas per se, but it’s my sister’s birthday and my mom grew up with the tradition in Germany, so I like to celebrate with traditional foods and make the house feel festive. One way I carry on my mom’s traditions is by making her rum balls.

Growing up I didn’t really understand why all of my mom’s friends went so crazy for her rum balls. Now I get it…they have plenty of the good stuff in them! Of course you can make the recipe without the booze and it’s still delicious, but to keep with tradition I always include it.

This is a very simple, no-cook recipe, but the mixture is quite thick and heavy and even a heavy duty food processor can get stuck. Just get in there with a spatula (with the machine off of course) and move it around a bit. You can also process the ingredients in two batches, which helps things not get too bogged down.

Please enjoy and let me know how your rum balls turn out!

Happy, Healthy Holidays,



  • 1 box Nilla wafers
  • 2 cups almonds or pecans
  • 1 cup Karo syrup
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 to 3 ounces rum
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, for rolling

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the wafers, nuts, Karo syrup and cocoa powder. Process until the mixture looks like dough. Add the rum and process again. The mixture should now appear wet and the nuts should be fully incorporated into the dough. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight.

When you’re ready to roll, place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Use a tablespoon to scoop up the mixture. Roll it between the palms of your clean hands until it forms a ball. Roll the ball in the powdered sugar and transfer to a platter. Repeat with remaining dough until it is gone. Enjoy! You can store these in an airtight container for about 3-4 days, but you’ll need to give them another roll in powdered sugar to perk them up.