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The holiday season means assembling no bake gingerbread rum balls, a truffle finished in Confectioners’ sugar or a dusting of cocoa powder!
With gratitude and appreciation, this recipe courtesy of The New York Times
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Gonna say no on this and for a logical reason. This recipe yields 2 1/2 dozen rum balls, but only specifies 1/3 of a cup of rum. The amount of alcohol in these confections is combined with other ingredients. Honestly, and not even if you ate all the truffles by yourself in one sitting, the likelihood of you getting drunk is extremely minimal.
No Bake Gingerbread Rum Balls
If you own a food processor, this no bake gingerbread rum ball recipe is your answer for entertaining company in your home, treats for book club, or what to take with you to holiday drop-ins. With the aid of the processor, the recipe is fast, fragrant, and no-bake which may be the absolute best part.
Dark rum mingles with cardamom and cinnamon in individual dainty truffles made festive by using seasonal crushed gingerbread cookies. Stored in an airtight container, these truffles will keep up to two weeks at room temperature. And…they get BETTER the longer they sit!
Do You Have What’s Needed to Assemble These No Bake Rum Balls? Check the List!
- gingerbread or gingersnap cookies, may be homemade or store-bought if tight on time
- Confectioners’ sugar
- dark rum or amber rum, spiced or not
- genuine maple syrup
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- fresh ginger
- ground cardamom
- ground cinnamon
- ground ginger
- fine sea salt
How This Recipe Came About…
Last season, there was A HUGE RESPONSE to my publishing the method for Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls. Amidst all of the messages I received, a reader named Sherry reached out in search of a rum ball recipe.
Slightly different, a bit more refined than say Oreo balls, but just as appropriate to bring to the Christmas party at the neighbor’s house. Classic rum balls grace the proverbial Christmas cookie trays with just a little something extra. Gingerbread.
I gave Sherry this very recipe. I did so because I trust implicitly every recipe, I have ever tried that the Times have published.
Fast forward to now and this gorgeously delicious classic Christmas dessert. These sweet treats are a fabulous addition to any cookie tray or dessert table.
Must I Bake Gingerbread in Order to Make No Bake Gingerbread Rum Balls?
No, not unless you prefer to. As many of you have heard me say, around the holidays when I am shortest on time, I welcome shortcuts.
This recipe offers two shortcuts in that first, you can use any store-bought brand of gingerbread or gingersnap cookie you like. Second, this is a no-bake method, so a real win-win if you ask me.
For the best results and the best flavor, I go with a popular store-bought brand that’s been around since the 1930’s. I can use my processor to pulverize them or pop them into a bag and use my rolling pin to smash them into fine cookie crumbs.
What Do Rum Balls Taste Like?
Since the flavor of a rum ball will change dramatically after sitting for a day or two, I recommend making these ahead. There is a distinct rum flavor initially, but after about 24 hours, I am able to pick up less on the rum and more on the chocolate and the gingerbread.
The flavor of rum balls varies based on the kind of rum ball you’re about to take a big bite out of. I’ve assembled no bake chocolate rum balls, coconut rum balls, orange spice rum balls, and of course, these gingerbread rum balls, these being my favorite.
How to Embellish No Bake Rum Balls?
Traditional rum balls are rolled in powdered sugar or cocoa powder. If neither of these appeals to you, consider gently pressing each truffle-like ball with chocolate sprinkles to coat.
And there is nothing to say you must do the entire batch the same. Arrange a couple of bowls with a variety of coatings such as melted chocolate, dark chocolate sprinkles, shredded toasted coconut (this is EXCELLENT by the way!), confectioners’ sugar, granulated white sugar, or vanilla wafer cookies that have been pulverized so as to dust.
If you prefer to add something to the truffle mixture prior to rolling, consider fresh orange zest, vanilla extract, or even a couple teaspoons of rum extract, though I feel like this is overkill. I may be biased because I have made these, and to applause I might add, but I think they’re enticing exactly the way the recipe instructs assembling them.
What Kind of Rum Should I Use?
This varies. The original recipe specifies ‘dark or amber rum, brandy or bourbon.’ I am using a dark spiced rum in mine because I love the how spiced rum compliments the cardamom and the maple flavors in this recipe.
My thought would be any type of rum, a gold rum or even a coconut flavored light rum, would work. For me, it’s largely about what I already have on hand and in this case, I had spiced rum left over from my Pineapple and Rum Cupcake recipe.
Since the flavor of a rum ball will change dramatically after sitting for a day or two, I recommend making these ahead. There is a distinct rum flavor, but after a while, I am able to pick up less on the rum and more on the chocolate and the gingerbread.
What If I Don’t Want to Use Any Alcohol?
Fret not, because if you’d prefer to skip the alcohol altogether, simply substitute apple or orange juice for the rum. If you do skip the alcohol, the original method suggests reducing the confectioners’ sugar by a tablespoon or two, or to taste.
Is Special Kitchen Equipment Required?
No. If you have a food processor, use it. If not, and as I referenced above, just pop the cookies into a bag and use a rolling pin to smash them into fine cookie crumbs.
You’ll also want a pretty airtight container to store these in as well as mini cupcake or candy liners. I feel like a pretty metal tin and fancy paper liners are a festive addition to an already fabulously fun treat.
Other equipment you will find useful for this recipe include a baking sheet, wax paper or parchment paper, and a sturdy wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
How to Make No Bake Rum Balls?
Pulse the Gingerbread
In the barrel of your food processor, pulse together the gingerbread and the pecans until all are coarsely ground. Do not overprocess as it’s important that the pecans have some texture.
Combine the Aromatics
In a separate bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar together with the rum you are using, maple syrup, cocoa powder, grated fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, ground ginger, and the tiniest pinch of fine sea salt. Scrape all into the food processor.
Pulse until just combined or alternatively, stir both mixtures together in a bowl and use your hands to squeeze together into a mass. At this point, taste the mixture and add additional spices or more fresh ginger if you feel it needs it.
Again, keep in mind that what you are tasting – almost smelling – is strong rum essence. This will dissipate within 12 to 24 hours and the chocolate and gingerbread flavor profiles will be far more apparent than the rum.
Make Rum Balls
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls then roll in confectioners’ sugar or other embellishment you’ve selected. Try to make them as uniform as possible.
If the dough begins to dry out as you are rolling, drizzle in a bit more rum, but only as much as you need to make the dough hold together when squeezed. Place each rum ball into a paper liner and place all into an airtight container.
Just Before Serving
When you pop the lid on the container, you may notice the confectioners’ sugar or other embellishment has absorbed into the rum ball. It may be necessary, if you’re worried about appearance, to re-roll the balls in additional sugar and replace them into their liners.
No Bake Gingerbread Rum Balls
- mini paper candy or cupcake liners
- waxed or parchment paper
- 2 ½ cups cookie crumbs from gingerbread or gingersnap cookies
- 1 ¼ cups pecans
- ¾ cups Confectioners' sugar plus, more for dusting
- ⅓ cup rum may be dark, medium, spiced or other
- 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup must be genuine maple syrup, NOT artificial pancake syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ginger freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch fine sea salt
- In a food processor, pulse together the gingerbread and the pecans until all are coarsely ground. Do not overprocess as it's important that the pecans have some texture.
- In a separate bowl, combine confectioners' sugar together with rum, maple syrup, cocoa powder, grated fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, ground ginger, and the tiniest pinch of fine sea salt. Scrape all into the food processor. Pulse until just combined or alternatively, stir both mixtures together in a bowl and use your hands to squeeze together into a mass.
- Taste the mixture and add additional spices or more fresh ginger if you feel it needs it.
- Cut the dough into thirds. Roll the dough into ten (10) 1-inch balls from each third. Try to make them as uniform as possible. Then roll in confectioners' sugar or other embellishment you've selected. If the dough begins to dry out as you are rolling, drizzle in a bit more rum. Place each rum ball into a paper liner and place all into an airtight container.
- NOTE: after a day, you may notice the confectioners' sugar has absorbed into the rum ball. It may be necessary to re-roll the balls in additional sugar and replace them into their liners prior to serving.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.
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