Rum Ball Goodness


For all the years of holiday baking there has been a consistent must-have on my list: the rum ball. If you are fan then you covet the section of the cookie tray holding little bites of the “spirit of Christmas”. If you’re fortunate, you get a tin of them for your very own self.

The recipe I traditionally used called for the typical crushed cookies, nuts, cocoa and rum. But it used light corn syrup and was not very easy to handle. Sticky and gooey, it required hand washing after every 10 or so rum balls were rolled.

This year Uncommon Caribbean shared a “Bad-Ass Cruzan Rum Balls” recipe with a few differences that I was looking forward to trying. This recipe included coconut and swaps sweetened condensed milk for the corn syrup.

The recipe is fantastic and the only change I made was the addition of  wonderful aromatic Vietnamese cinnamon to the mix, and adding a dash to the fine granulated sugar the rum balls were rolled in.  The cinnamon adds a warmth to the recipe that I plan to continue including in future batches.

Batch two came from inspiration several weeks before when I read the UC rum ball recipe via Twitter while drinking a PainKiller cocktail.  Sadly I was not sitting at a beach bar in the Virgin Islands… but the nutmeg and fruit flavors were inspiring and felt like they might fit into rum ball. I researched a handful of recipes to be sure I knew what was in the cocktail (including a post from Rum Shop Ryan, and Lets Tiki ).  My recipe is below.  As with the cinnamon-ed cocoa batch, the ode-to-a-painkiller batch also got rave reviews.

( Printable recipe: Painkiller Rum Ball Recipe  )

Painkiller Rum Ball Recipe

This recipe is an ode to the tropical rum libation: the Painkiller. By adding grated orange peel and freshly grated nutmeg, the essence of the cocktail already starts to come through. The half cup of rum in the recipe is a mix of dark rum, coconut rum and pineapple schnapps. Finish them off by adding more nutmeg in the sugar coating. Cheers!

  • 16 Oz (about 4 cups) crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans
  • ½  cup flaked coconut
  • ¼  cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½  tsp grated orange peel
  • ½  tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼  cup dark rum
  • ¼ cup blend coconut rum  mixed with pineapple schnapps
  • fine granulated sugar + dashes of fresh nutmeg for rolling rum balls in


1) In a large bowl, combine: finely crushed wafers, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, powdered sugar, orange peel and nutmeg. Pour in the can of condensed milk. Add rum and liqueurs and mix thoroughly.  Cover bowl and chill for a couple of hours.

2) Hand-roll dough into one-inch balls.  Roll the formed rum balls in the sugar/nutmeg mix (or chocolate sprinkles, coconut flakes, or whatever else inspires you).

3) Store the rum balls in an airtight container for one-to-three days to develop the flavors… if you can wait that long!

Most people are done cooking and baking treats until next December…. but if you give it a go, you’ll have to let me know how they turn out or if you make any changes for the better!

About Jorie

🌴 An Island dreamer with a passion for palm trees and Caribbean turquoise water. Few things speak to my soul like having my feet in the sand on the coast of somewhere amazing with salty wind blowing through my hair. 🌴 🌴 Sandonthebrain is my way to hold that feeling all the rest of the days when I am not on an island. My collection of sand and affinity for rum, and island flavors helps to take me back...until the next trip. 🌴

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