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holiday-cookies-rum-balls-and-apricot-coconut-balls-headerDecember is the time of the year to indulge in making holiday cookies. Family recipes are often made from generation to generation, which makes those recipes special. 

Yet, every year try to add something new to your repertoire. This year you might want to try rum balls as they are easy to make and quite tasty. One special holiday treat is a rum ball, bite-sized confections made with chocolate and rum. After that the recipe varies from country to country and family to family. This holiday cookie recipe has been in my family for many years. Yet, you must remember to make these balls at least 10-14 days before you want to serve them. It takes that amount of time for the rum flavor to dominate.

Recipe for Rum Balls


  • 2 cups vanilla wafers
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Crush the vanilla wafers in a food processor until they look like small crumbs. Mix vanilla wafers, cocoa, corn syrup, rum, and nuts in a bowl. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour until it is firm enough to shape.
  2. Roll all these ingredients into small 1-inch balls and then roll each ball in powdered sugar. Coating of the rum balls in powdered sugar prevents evaporation of the alcohol.
  3. Store in an airtight container 10--14 days for the rum balls to soak up the rum flavor.

Note: Flavored vodka or liqueur can be substituted for the rum.

This recipe makes 24 balls.

Another easy-to-make ball is the apricot-coconut ball. The tartness of the apricots, orange juice and orange rind is balanced by the sweetness of the condensed milk. These balls are also rolled in powdered sugar.

Apricot-Coconut Balls Recipe


  • 1 ½ cups dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 cups moist shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange rind
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Chop apricots in a food processor or by hand using a sharp knife. Combine apricots and coconut, stir in condensed milk, mixing well with the orange juice and orange rind. Shape mixture into 32 small balls and roll in powdered sugar.
  2. Let stand until firm and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

This recipe makes 32 balls. They can be served in individual small paper cups.

Both of these balls make fun holiday gifts, so be sure and make an extra batch of each. Don’t forget these balls if you are hosting or attending a cookie swap this year.

For recipes and food tips from Sally, check out Sally's Place.

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