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Easy maple rum balls for the holidays

Maple rum balls are an easy, no bake holiday treat for grownups. This easy rum ball recipe is made with maple cookies and rolled in maple sugar. They are a great nibble for holiday gatherings and for shipping to friends and family.

Maple rum balls in red glass bowl with silver ribbon in front.

I like to have an easy no bake recipe that I can make ahead for holiday parties or Christmas cookie platters. Rum balls are perfect for this because they are incredibly easy and fast.

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Maple rum balls for Christmas

Most often, I roll rum balls in powdered sugar or a mixture of granulated sugar and powdered sugar. However, these are maple rum balls, so these little treats get their holiday sparkle from maple sugar.

One of the best things about making these boozy bites is that you can swap out the cookies, the spices and the alcohol used to make as many variations as you can dream up. Believe me, I’ve made at least a dozen and there are more coming.

Maple rum balls in red bowl with white twinkle lights in the background.

Rum balls were originally a way for bakeries to use up leftover cookie and cake scraps. They mixed up the crumbs with a bit of alcohol and jam or honey, rolled them into sugar-coated balls and sold them.

The bakeries were trying to avoid food waste and profit loss, I think it was a moment of absolute genius.

Ingredients

The only ingredient you will likely have to shop for are the maple cookies. I bought mine at Trader Joe’s, but any maple cookies will do.

Ingredients for maple rum balls.

If you’ve already started stocking up for holiday baking, you probably have everything else already. I’ve made rum balls with both walnuts and pecans – use whichever you prefer, or whatever you have in the pantry.

Please do not skip the salt in the recipe. All sweet recipes benefit from a bit of salt to help balance the sweetness.

How to make rum balls

First, grind the cookies and nuts in the bowl of a food processor. This is what it should look like – large crumbs, but you should still see small pieces of nuts or cookies.

Ground nuts and cookies in the bowl of a food processor.

Next, sift the powdered sugar with the salt and allspice. Then stir in the rum and maple syrup.

Mixture for rum balls with maple in stainless mixing bowl.

Finally, add the cookie mixture to the bowl and stir it all together. Cover with plastic wrap and let it chill for about 30 minutes. Do not skip this step – the mixture needs time to absorb the liquid and set up.

Scooping rum balls.

After half an hour, the mixture will be firmer and scoopable. Use a small cookie scoop to portion rum balls. Then toss in a mixture of brown sugar and granulated sugar, maple sugar or powdered sugar.

Rum balls in red glass bowl with Christmas garland in the background.

Rum ball Q & A

Do rum balls need to be refrigerated?

Rum balls do not to be refrigerated, but they should be stored in a cool area. Refrigerating them will extend the “shelf life” to a few weeks.

Can I make rum balls with bourbon?

YES! You can swap out the rum for bourbon to make these into maple bourbon balls.

Can you freeze rum balls?

Rum balls freeze really well, actually. If you plan on freezing them, don’t roll them in sugar. It is best to coat them when you plan to serve them.

Can I make them ahead of time?

Rum balls get even better after a day or two, so making them ahead is not only ideal, it is ENCOURAGED.

Rum balls on red and white tablecloth with pinecones in the background.

This is a great time to get together with a friend or neighbor, share your resources and make a big batch of rum balls for holiday parties or shipping cookies to family.

They keep really well and they are even better after a day or two, so making them a few days before you’ll need them is perfect.

Rum ball recipes

These easy, no bake treats are so simple to make, you can whip up a few batches in no time! Try a few of these recipes for your holiday gatherings.

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A worthy cause

This year, we’re raising money in support of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. We’d love if you could join us in supporting a worthy cause this holiday season. Here is our fundraising page.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for new, innovative and less-toxic treatments. Since 2008, they have granted nearly $17 million to research in the form of 100+ research grants to leading pediatric cancer centers across the country. From these grants have stemmed 35+ treatments available to kids battling cancer today.

Yield: 40 pieces

Maple Rum Balls

Maple Rum Balls

Quick and easy, maple rum balls are the perfect make ahead, boozy holiday treat for grownups.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For rum balls

  • 12 ounces maple sandwich cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup powdered (icing) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 cup amber rum
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup

For sugar coating

  • 1/2 cup maple sugar

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, process maple cookies and walnuts until finely ground. Set aside. (You may have to do this batches if you have a smaller food processor)
  2. In a large bowl, sift together powdered sugar, salt and allspice.
  3. Stir in rum and maple syrup.
  4. Add cookie and nut mixture to the bowl and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Scoop out tablespoon sized portions and use your hands to roll into balls.
  6. Toss in maple sugar to coat.
  7. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving, to allow the sugar to adhere.

Notes

Instead of maple sugar, you can use 1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/4 cup light brown sugar to coat the rum balls.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1 rum ball

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 62Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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16 Comments

  1. I haven’t made rum balls in years, but after seeing your recipe I’m making a special trip to Trader Joe’s to get maple cookies ASAP! Sounds divine!

  2. I have never made rum balls before, but this Oreo style version has me racing for the store to get the ingredients! Love these and that you rolled them in maple sugar! So fun, fab and festive!

  3. CHERYL! These Maple Rum Balls are CALLING my name. Would you believe I’ve never made a rum ball and didn’t realize how they came into existence before reading your post? Because that’s the truth… and I’m going to fix it ASAP next week because these sound incredible.

    Thank you for participating in this year’s Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange, sharing this recipe and helping raise some funds for Cookies for Kids Cancer! I am so appreciative of you and hope you and yours have an awesome holiday season!

  4. These sound so very good! I love anything with maple, and of course RUM! Lovely recipe — can’t wait to try.

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