Rum Balls

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    pastries, 1¾ inches in diameter

Appears in

Rum balls are an excellent way of recycling good leftover pastries, end pieces, scraps, and other preparations, just as vegetable trimmings, bones, and some types of leftover sauce go into the stockpot in the hot kitchen. However, the rum ball bucket should not be mistaken for a garbage can; only those scraps that will not spoil within a week or so should be added. No pastry cream or whipped cream should be used, and buttercream or buttercream-filled items should be used only if they are no more than one day old. The best kinds of scraps to use are slightly stale cookies, meringues and macaroons, Florentinas, ladyfingers, pastries such as Tosca and Polynées that do not contain buttercream, light and dark sponge cake, and baked short dough cookies and cake bottoms. Danish or other yeast-dough pastries should not be used in a high-quality rum ball mixture but can be recycled as part of a Bear Claw filling.

The technique used for coating rum balls with chocolate is a little more complicated than the dipping technique used in many of the other recipes. However, because rum balls are so simple and inexpensive to make, there is no need to speed up the finishing process by simply dipping them or, worse yet, rolling them in chocolate sprinkles. I prefer to use light coating chocolate for rum balls, as so many of the other pastries in this chapter are finished with dark chocolate, but of course the two are interchangeable.

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  • Rum Ball Filling
  • Powdered sugar
  • 2 pounds (910 g) melted light coating chocolate (see Note)
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) simple syrup


  1. Divide the rum ball filling into 5 pieces, a little over 1 pound (455 g) each. Roll each piece into a 12-inch (30-cm) rope, using powdered sugar to prevent the filling from sticking to the table. Cut each rope into 12 equal pieces. Roll the small pieces into round balls and place the balls on sheet pans lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until firm.
  2. The temperature of the coating chocolate should be between 100° to 110°F (38° to 43°C). Cover the rum balls with a thin layer of melted chocolate by picking up some melted chocolate with your fingers and rolling a rum ball between your palms to coat. Place them back on the pans and reserve at room temperature.
  3. Weigh out 1 pound 8 ounces (680 g) of the remaining chocolate; add more chocolate if necessary, depending on the amount used to coat the rum balls the first time. Return the chocolate to the proper working temperature. Stir in the simple syrup. You may need to increase the amount of syrup added, depending on the brand of chocolate you are using. The chocolate should thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise.
  4. Pick up some of the thickened chocolate with your fingers and roll each rum ball between your palms as before, but this time cover them with a thick layer of chocolate, with spikes and tails of chocolate standing up (Figure 12-19). You must work quickly or the heat from your hands will melt the chocolate and you will not be able to achieve the rough texture. The finished pastry should be full of ridges and points, like a properly rolled truffle.

  5. Replace the rum balls on the pans and store in a dry box or covered in the refrigerator.

Figure 12-19 Coating Rum Balls with thickened melted chocolate by rolling them between the palms to produce a spiked surface