My Holiday Gift to you: Mom's Rum Ball Recipe

Every year, during the Holidays, I reconnect with my mom (who passed away in 1980) by cooking some of her recipes. I drag out her recipe cards and the old, tattered Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, whose time-worn pages are full of family memories and 'history'. Her notations (and mine) are written in some of the margins. There are crusted remains of  past cooking adventures on some of the pages. That cookbook is probably older than I am. Here is one of my mom's own recipes, I hope you try it out! (Caution: limit intake of these cookies, you may need a "designated driver" after consuming too many of these).

6 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
3/4 cups  rum (more or less)–I like the strong taste of rum, you may want to use less!
6 TBSP white Karo syrup (sweetened corn syrup)
6 TBSP cocoa (unsweetened)
2–3 cups chopped walnuts
3 cups powdered sugar (more or less)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl (hands work best!), except for the powdered sugar. Roll mixture into small balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Put into tightly sealed containers. Flavor increases with age! This recipe makes enough to share with  family and friends...Thanks mom! Love you...

For more information and history of the wonderful rum ball, visit Wickipedia.


  1. Lisa, a big thanks for the inspiration. I bought ingredients and the college kids made rum balls, though I tinkered with the recipe (as always) and used ground Swedish ginger thins instead of vanilla wafers. I'm such a wuss when it comes to drinking that I cut the rum (a spiced dark rum) to 1/2 cup and increased the Karo a bit. They are delicious! Merry Christmas.

  2. I SO excited that you tried (and altered!) the rum ball recipe! They really sound delicious! My daughter, back from college, and I made them on Christmas day...so yummy and fun!