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Christmas Balls

The holiday season….has caught up with me. I had originally intended to post more famous family Christmas Balls recipes separately…but due to the fact that we actually had to gift all of these instead of eating them ourselves…well, not many photos were taken but the recipes will live on.

And there’s always next year, right?

Check out the Peanut Butter Balls Post – I had originally intended to give all of our balls that much attention…but let’s be real – sometimes balls get neglected.

The Lineup:

Made with nuts, dried fruit, honey, spices, and that’s about it, these are definitely the healthiest of all the balls. Sugarplums are definitely not for everyone, but give them to any fitness or health junkie in your life and they will be thrilled! You can also play around with many of the spices, fruits and nuts in this recipe, and come up with your own version of Sugarplums! This recipe makes less balls than the others, and it was suggested you make them a bit smaller…but I say do whatever you want with these balls.Sugarplums

Rum Balls
These are hands down the oldest and most favored family ball recipe. My mom made these as a teenager and told me she thinks she adds more booze to the recipe every year,  so get ready. These are also excellent as Bourbon Balls. They keep very well in the fridge and can be rolled in powdered sugar before gifting, ours are so boozy they soak up the powdered sugar pretty quick, as you can see in the first picture in this post!
Rum Balls

Coconut Balls
Essentially a candy bar morphed into a ball, give these to all of the coconut lovers in your life. We experimented this year and tried to add cherry brandy to the chocolate dipping mixture – don’t try that at home. We found that something close to the original recipe was best.Coconut Balls


adapted from The Beekman 1802 Dessert Cookbook
makes about 30


  • 3/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar, plus more for coating
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamoom
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • shredded coconut, for rolling (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, or until crisp and fragrant. Let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the almonds to a food processor and add the dates, apricots, and cherries and process until the fruit and nuts are finely chopped but have not formed a ball.

Add the honey, powdered sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse just to combine.

With dampened hands, shape into walnut-size balls. If serving right away roll in powdered sugar. You can also roll in shredded coconut, then powdered sugar if you’re into that. If not serving right away, refrigerate on a waxed baking sheet and roll in powdered sugar just before serving.

Rum Balls
from Lulu
makes about 3 dozen balls


  • 2 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (about all of the wafers from an 11 oz. box)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup dark rum, have a few tablespoons on hand for extra soaking
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup


In a Cuisinart, or large mortar and pestle, blend together the wafers, walnuts, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. I usually start by blending the wafers, then add the walnuts, and so on. While blender is on, drizzle in rum and light corn syrup. Blend until combined. Alternatively, you can transfer the wafer and walnut mixture to a large bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. Make into small bite-size or two-bite balls, and place them on baking sheets lined with waxed paper.

Then we really go for it, and like to drizzle a little extra rum over the balls while they are on the baking sheets, this makes them rummier (and yummier) and makes them easier to roll in powdered sugar.

Sprinkle about a cup of powdered sugar onto a plate and roll balls in powdered sugar until covered. You can shake off the extra sugar if you’d like. Transfer balls to an airtight container, separating the balls in layers of waxed paper.  RUMMY BONUS – we dip a piece of cheesecloth in rum and layer the balls in the airtight container with the cheesecloth. These are most definitely best served the next day, you can re-roll in powdered sugar for a nice touch. We like cold, refrigerated balls, but you can also leave them at room temperature to marinate for a day.

NOTES: substitute rum for bourbon to turn these babies in bourbon balls!

Coconut Balls
adapted from cooks.com
makes about 4 dozen balls


  • 1 (16 oz) bag shredded coconut
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 3 1/2 oz paraffin wax (totally optional, we didn’t use it)


In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Mix until well combined. Put in the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up the mixture.

Once chilled, line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and roll the coconut mixture into balls about the size of a tablespoon. Place the balls onto waxed paper and place in the freezer while you are melting your chocolate, about 15-20 minutes.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips (and paraffin, if using). Once melted, remove balls from freezer. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, dip each ball into the chocolate. Return to the waxed paper to cool.