Rumballs are one of my favorite Christmas treats. I could eat a dozen in no time. Maybe I like them, not only for their taste, but for the fond memories I have of my Grandma when I make them.
It was at her house that I first learned how to mix the ingredients and shape the balls so they were all even. Grandma does not think that rumballs made with graham crackers are even remotely the real deal so I have come to learn that the extra expense for the Nilla wafers is worth the end result. While Grandma still bakes each Christmas, the rumballs have fallen to me and I make far too many each year. I think we were still eating them in February last holiday.
That's not to say I won't make just as many this year, but I will not keep them hidden. We were all so afraid of running out that I tried to ration us. And I guess a bit too much. This year, let the rumballs - made with Nilla wafers - flow.
There isn't too much to say about the recipe. I find that the rum and corn syrup amounts are not completely accurate and you have to adjust as you go. The dough should be not too wet - too much rum - and not too sticky - too much corn syrup. So whisk in the rum and corn syrup mixture and use your hands to knead it in. If it is not making balls that easily roll together, you need more liquid. Dry rumballs are terrible, plus the powdered sugar coating will absorb some of the moisture so err on the side of sticky rather than just barely holding together.
Also, the ingredients need to be really finely ground so use a food processor. Grind the nuts until they are wet and sticking together. This will really help the balls form.I store mine in an airtight - do not use cheap Christmas tins for this - container so that they age but do not dry out in any way. Be prepared when you open the lid, they will smell really strong after a few weeks.
I made three batches the other night and that is tons. Hope someone eats them. What am I saying? They will be gone before I know it!
Grandma's Bourbon Walnut Balls
2 1/2c. finely ground vanilla wafer crumbs
1c. finely ground pecans or walnuts
3 T. Cocoa powder
1c. powdered sugar
1/2c. bourbon or rum
3T. corn syrup
Confectioners sugar to roll the balls in
Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
Whisk the corn syrup and rum or bourbon together. Pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix with your hand until sticky but solid walnut size balls form. Add more of the wet ingredients if needed, starting with more corn syrup.
Roll balls into powdered sugar and store in an airtight container.