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Walnut Spiced Rum Balls are rich and perfectly sweet holiday cookies that melt in your mouth and will have you reaching for another.

Walnut Spiced Rum Balls on wood platter

Everyone has their favorite holiday cookies.  My husband loves lemon curd hazelnut thumbprints. My kids love the chewy molasses sugar cookies. My dad loves the triple threat peppermint brownie bites. And my addiction to five minute fudge has me barely squeezing into my fat pants.  Who loves these melt in your mouth Walnut Spiced Rum Balls?  My sister.

close up of a Russian tea cake cookie

Every year she asks me to include them in my cookie making extravaganza. Some years I do and some years I don’t. The years I don’t are payback when she locked me and my younger sister out of the house, shoeless, when she was supposed to be “babysitting” us. This year I not only made her favorite cookies, but I made them better than I used to!

walnuts next to Russian tea cake cookies

What? The Self Proclaimed Foodie admits she used to make something less than superb? Yes. Soak it in. I won’t do it again for quite some time, I’m sure. So how could I improve on these wonderful morsels?  I did two things differently.  First, I used to use raw walnuts, now I toast them. Second, I used to stir all the walnut pieces into the cookie, now I process half of them with some rum into a paste and incorporate that into the dough.

powder sugar covered rum balls

These cookies are hard to describe because they are unlike most other cookies. At first they appear light and dry, but as soon as you bite off a piece, it just melts. It doesn’t turn into a crumbly mess like my previous less-than-superb version. They hold their shape but are delicate at the same time. Foodie success!Walnut tea cake cookie with bite taken out

Walnut Spiced Rum Balls

Prep30 minutes
Cook14 minutes
Total44 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Walnut Spiced Rum Balls are rich and perfectly sweet holiday cookies that melt in your mouth and will have you reaching for another.



  • To toast the walnuts, spread an even layer on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes, stirring them while cooking to ensure even toasting. Allow to fully cool.
  • In a food processor, pulse flour, only half of the walnuts, and the salt until the walnuts are in small chunks, 4-5 pulses. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside.
  • Run the remaining toasted walnuts through the food processor until finely ground 10-20 seconds. Add the spiced rum and process until a past forms which takes only about 5 seconds.
  • Using stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the walnut rum paste and beat until combined. Turn the speed to low, add the flour mixture one spoonful at a time, and stop mixing as soon as everything has combined. Do not over mix.
  • Transfer dough to plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  • Form dough into walnut sized balls. Bake until bottoms just start to brown, about 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool on sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat until all the cookies have baked.
  • Prior to eating, roll fully cooled cookies in powdered sugar, shaking off any excess.


serving size based on one cookie


Calories: 131kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 45mg, Potassium: 34mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 142IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you’re in the right place! Stick around… I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. 4 stars
    Very tasty! Good walnut flavour, but found that the taste of the rum gets lost after baking. Next time will add some rum flavouring to punch it up and maybe add a tbsp. more of liquid so that it’s not quite so fragile, though i do love how it almost melts in your mouth 🙂

    1. I’m glad I read your comment. I’m not used to cooking with alcohol and I’m almost a year sober. I want to make these but have been worried about the alcohol in it. Will cooking with alcohol of any sort still have it’s effects on mental ability and liver, etc

      1. I’m reasonably confident all of the alcohol burns off during the cooking process, but if you are unsure and want to be 100%, you can always completely omit it from the recipe or substitute with a non-alcoholic version (America’s test kitchen has one that uses raisins, black tea, and molasses!). Congrats on your year sober!

  2. Hi there! I just made these to bring to a holiday party and I found that while they were *delicious*, they were also extremely delicate (i.e. crumbling under my fingers if I grabbed them with just a little too much pressure, crumbling in the tupperware I put them in, etc)! Do you have any tips for how to make these sturdier for handling/transport, or do I just have to accept that these rum balls will require very gentle handling?

    1. Its just personal preference. Kosher salt is pretty much all I use and I love the larger sized crystals. It just improves the taste, in my opinion. You can totally use table salt if you want! -Krissy