A Christmas cookie plate is even better when it includes a few homemade candies, and this recipe for Rum Balls from the Southern Living archives is one you’ll turn to year after year. Originally from our December 1993 issue, this boozy confection was created by reader Lela H. Coggins from Brevard, North Carolina. These tender, pecan-filled treats are for adults only—made with dark rum and bourbon, they pack a powerful punch! Unlike many bourbon or rum ball recipes, Ms. Coggins uses honey instead of corn syrup, which gives these Rum Balls a more complex flavor and keeps them from being overly sweet. The variety of honey you use will alter the flavor of the rum balls slightly. Orange blossom honey will add citrus notes, clover honey will add a floral flavor, and a darker honey, like wildflower or buckwheat honey will add a subtle bitter note that will contrast nicely with the sweet cookies. The recipe couldn’t be easier to make if you use a food processor to finely chop up the vanilla wafers and pecans. You want them to be very finely ground for the smoothest texture. Once you stir in the honey, bourbon, and rum, you’ll have a sticky mixture to shape into 1-inch balls. Roll the formed balls in an extra layer of granulated sugar or vanilla wafer crumbs for a prettier presentation. You can serve the rum balls on a cookie plate or by themselves on a platter. For gift giving, package them in small boxes with paper candy liners.
1 (12-ounce) package vanilla wafers
1 (16-ounce) package pecan pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup bourbon
1/3 cup dark rum
Sugar or vanilla wafer crumbs
How to Make It
Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add vanilla wafers. Process until crumbs are fine. Transfer to a large bowl. Place pecans in processor bowl; process until finely chopped. Stir into vanilla wafer crumbs. Stir in honey, bourbon, and rum. Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in sugar or additional vanilla wafer crumbs. Place in an airtight container, and store in refrigerator up to one month.