It’s Time To Rum-Ball!


My company hosts a really beautiful traditional holiday party in December. It couldn’t be more lovely, and it is a time when we celebrate and honor those who have performed exceptionally well through the year. We get dressed up, we dine, we dance, and everyone is on their Best Behavior. We tend to be pretty conservative. But I do think that having a slightly irreverent sense of humor is required to be an associate. At least I hope so, or I may be in trouble!

A few days after the banquet, we throw the Annual Ball Bash. This more casual event is held to honor our December birthday babies in the training division. The tradition started innocently enough, with holiday cookies and treats. But one year, a colleague brought in some Bourbon Balls that were so strong, they made grown men giggle. Mayhem ensued. Even the introverts cracked jokes. Yes! And that is how the Annual Ball Bash was born. The only requirement to participate in the Ball Bash is that the foodstuff you contribute be in the shape of a ball. Spherical. Round. Cheese balls, sausage balls, donut holes, cherry tomatoes, meatballs–people get creative. Use your imagination with regards to the conversation that ensues…we certainly do! It’s fun to have a celebration that’s a little out of the ordinary.

For some reason, I feel that there is an expectation amongst my peers that I contribute some semblance of the boozy balls that started it all. These little delights aren’t for minors—after all, they get to have most of the holiday fun, don’t they? Sometimes I make Small-Batch Kentucky Bourbon Balls, and you can certainly use this recipe to do so. But this year I rolled up some Rum Balls, rich little orbs of cocoa, vanilla cookies, and Caribbean rum, flecked with toasted pecans. This simple recipe is really fun to make, and even more fun to share with your friends. It’s best to make them a day or two in advance so that they mellow out a little. And just don’t eat more than three if you have to drive or turn in a TPS report or something.Winking smileGlass Art Tray by Brenda Czernis

Art Glass Tray Designed by Brenda Czernis

It's Time To Rum Ball!
Prep time
Total time
(adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe)
Recipe type: Holiday, Dessert
  • 2½ cups confectioners' sugar. Reserve a half cup of the sugar.
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup Caribbean spiced rum
  • 4 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5½ cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (I whirl them through the food processor until finely ground). Reserve a half cup of the crushed vanilla wafers.
  • 2½ cups finely chopped, toasted pecans (toast pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and then whirl in the food processor). Reserve a half cup of the pecans.
  • Optional: A small container of chocolate sprinkles
  1. In a large bowl, toss together 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar, the cocoa powder and the allspice. Stir in the rum and corn syrup. Stir in the vanilla wafers and pecans, and mix well. Place in the refrigerator to firm up, about an hour.
  2. Place the remaining ½ cup confectioners' sugar, vanilla wafers, and pecans in separate shallow bowls. Place the chocolate sprinkles in a shallow bowl as well.
  3. Using a tablespoon, scoop out portions of the chocolate mixture and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla wafers, pecans, or sprinkles, coating evenly.
  4. Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, placing waxed paper between the layers to prevent sticking. These freeze well, too!

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