Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old Timey Rum Balls or Bourbon Balls

Rum or bourbon balls made with crushed vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa, ground nuts and bourbon or rum. Balls may be rolled in a variety of coatings including powdered sugar, cocoa mixed with powdered sugar, ground nuts or crushed cookies.

Old Timey Rum Balls

Old timey bourbon or rum balls have been a holiday favorite here in The Deep South for as long as I can remember, and this is the basic recipe, with a few coatings and add-in variations. While I know that cake balls and cookie truffles are all the rage these days, to me these are the original title holder since the 1960s.

Best I remember, my Mama used to make these pretty strong to where you could near about feel your head spinning when you bit into one of them. Course, even though she may have teasingly slapped that hand away, saying "those aren't for kids," that also pretty much kept you from sneaking too many of them!

Adjust the liquor to your own tastes. One-quarter cup of rum is plenty strong for me, though some would disagree. At any rate, despite the fact that my mother's generation may have turned a blind eye to us sneaking a few of these, you should keep these reserved for adult parties to avoid underage sneaking. These cookie balls are also delicious without alcohol too of course. Simply add a bit of vanilla extract for flavoring and enough water to draw the dough together.

Finish the balls by rolling them in sifted powdered sugar, a mixture of sifted powdered sugar with cocoa, very finely minced pecans or walnuts, finely crushed Nilla wafers, coconut, or dip them in melted chocolate or almond bark.  If you dip them, decorate the tops with a white chocolate or vanilla almond bark drizzle for a pretty finish.

Do you make rum or bourbon balls, and if so, what variations have you tried?

Rum Balls rolled in Powdered Sugar and Cocoa

Recipe: Old Timey Rum Balls or Bourbon Balls

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min | Yield: About 24

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • Pinch of cayenne, optional
  • 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rum or bourbon
  • 2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup finely ground nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts)
  • Choice of coating (below)

In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa and cayenne, if using. Stir in the corn syrup and rum or bourbon and blend. Stir in the crushed Nilla wafers and nuts; mix well. Dough should be fairly stiff; add more crushed vanilla wafers if needed. Shape into balls roughly an inch in size, and roll the balls in a coating (below) as desired. Refrigerate or freeze to set. Serve at room temperature, but store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Cook's Notes: Although it is not necessary, lightly toast the nuts if desired, and allow to cool before grinding. Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on size. I got 24 balls about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in size. I used Hershey's cocoa, Karo light syrup and Nilla vanilla wafers.

Coatings: Use plain sifted powdered sugar, a mixture of sifted powdered sugar with cocoa, very finely minced nuts, finely crushed Nilla wafers or other finely crushed cookie or coconut. For something different, refrigerate the plain balls for 1 hour, then dip them in melted chocolate or almond bark. Decorate the tops with a pecan half, or a drizzle of white chocolate or vanilla almond bark.

Variations: Change the vanilla wafers for chocolate wafers and use extra, very finely crushed cookies to coat some of the balls; coat the remaining in plain sifted powdered sugar.

Add-ins: 1/4 cup of finely chopped, well drained, Maraschino cherries; 1/4 cup of coconut; 1 teaspoon of instant coffee alone, or with 1 tablespoon of Kahlua.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on December 22, 2010
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